Mechanical and electrical anisotropy in Mimosa pudica pulvini

Alexander G. Volkov, Justin C. Foster, Kara D. Baker, Vladislav S. Markin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Thigmonastic or seismonastic movements in Mimosa pudica, such as the response to touch, appear to be regulated by electrical, hydrodynamical and chemical signal transduction. The pulvinus of Mimosa pudica shows elastic properties, and we found that electrically or mechanically induced movements of the petiole were accompanied by a change of the pulvinus shape. As the petiole falls, the volume of the lower part of the pulvinus decreases and the volume of the upper part increases due to the redistribution of water between the upper and lower parts of the pulvinus. This hydroelastic process is reversible. During the relaxation of the petiole, the volume of the lower part of the pulvinus increases and the volume of the upper part decreases. Redistribution of ions between the upper and lower parts of a pulvinus causes fast transport of water through aquaporins and causes a fast change in the volume of the motor cells. Here, the biologically closed electrochemical circuits in electrically and mechanically anisotropic pulvini of Mimosa pudica are analyzed using the charged capacitor method for electrostimulation at different voltages. Changing the polarity of electrodes leads to a strong rectification effect in a pulvinus and to different kinetics of a capacitor discharge if the applied initial voltage is 0.5 V or higher. The electrical properties of Mimosa pudica's pulvini were investigated and the equivalent electrical circuit within the pulvinus was proposed to explain the experimental data. The detailed mechanism of seismonastic movements in Mimosa pudica is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1221
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Charged capacitor method
  • Electrical circuits
  • Electrophysiology
  • Ion channels
  • Mimosa pudica
  • Plant electrostimulation
  • Pulvinus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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