Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 78, No. 4, pp. 2422-2426, April 1981. Used by Permission


Wounding (whether by excision, abrasion, or puncture) elicited rapid, massive, and enduring formation of polysomes in aged pea stems and other mature tissues. The response depended on temperature and severity of wounding but not on water uptake, and it occurred in tissues adjacent to, distant from, above, and below the site of injury. The kinetics of polysome formation were similar in tissues adjacent to or up to 150 mm distant from the point of injury. The wound-induced increases in proteinsynthesizing capacity of the polysomes both in vivo and in vitro were much greater than the increases in rRNA and poly(A)+RNA. The results indicate that wounding evokes the almost immediate production of a wound signal that travels rapidly both acropetally and basipetally to stimulate the recruitment of preexisting ribosomes onto primarily preexisting mRNA, thence forming polysomes with greatly enhanced protein-synthesizing capacity.

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