The growth rate of the Phycomyces sporangiophore fluctuates under constant environmental conditions. These fluctuations underlie the well-characterized sensory responses to environmental changes. We compared growth fluctuations in sporangiophores of unstimulated wild type and behavioral mutants by use of maximum entropy spectral analysis, a mathematical technique that estimates the frequency and amplitude of oscillations in a time series. The mutants studied are believed to be altered near the input ("nightblind") or output ("stiff and "hypertropic") of the photosensory transduction chain. The maximum entropy spectrum of wild type shows a sharp drop-off in spectral density above 0.3 millihertz, several minor peaks between 0.3 and 10 millihertz, and a broad maximum near 10 millihertz. Similar spectra were obtained for a night-blind mutant and a hypertropic mutant. In contrast, the spectra of three stiff mutants, defective in genes madD, madE, or madG, had distinctive peaks near 1.6 mHz and harmonics of this frequency. A madF stiff mutant, which is less stiff than madD, madE, and madC mutants, had a spectrum intermediate between wild type and the three other stiff mutants. Our results indicate that alterations in one or more steps associated with growth regulation output cause the Phycomyces sporangiophore to express a rhythmic growth rate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science