As sessile organisms, plants do not possess the nerves and muscles that facilitate movement in most animals. However, several plant species can move quickly in response to various stimuli (e.g., touch). One such plant species, Mimosa pudica
L., possesses the motor organ pulvinus at the junction of the leaflet-rachilla, rachilla-petiole, and petiole-stem, and upon mechanical stimulation, this organ immediately closes the leaflets and moves the petiole. Previous electrophysiological studies have demonstrated that a long-distance and rapid electrical signal propagates through M. pudica
in response to mechanical stimulation. Furthermore, the spatial and temporal patterns of the action potential in the pulvinar motor cells were found to be closely correlated with rapid movements. In this review, we summarize findings from past research and discuss the mechanisms underlying long-distance signal transduction in M. pudica
. We also propose a model in which the action potential, followed by water flux (i.e., a loss of turgor pressure) in the pulvinar motor cells is a critical step to enable rapid movement.
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