A secreted factor induces cell expansion and formation of metaxylem-like tracheary elements in xylogenic suspension cultures of Zinnia

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Conditioned medium from mesophyll cell-suspension cultures of Zinnia elegans L. has striking effects on cell expansion and tracheary element differentiation when applied to cultures of freshly isolated mesophyll cells. These effects include (a) induction of early cell expansion, (b) delay in differentiation by 48 h or more, (c) reduction in the synchrony of differentiation, and (d) early formation of very large, metaxylem-like tracheary elements. Like reduced osmotic potential and buffering at pH 5.5, conditioned medium appears to have its primary effect on cell expansion. Partial characterization of the expansion-inducing factor indicates that it is heat stable, of low molecular mass, and is resistant to protease. It also binds reversibly to concanavalin A but is not adsorbed by charcoal. We suggest that the secreted factor may be an oligosaccharide involved in the coordination of cell expansion and differentiation and the regulation of the protoxylem-like to metaxylem-like transition in xylogenic suspension cultures.

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Plant Physiology