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Physiological Studies on Pea Tendrils: VI. The Characteristics of Sensory Perception and Transduction

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Abstract

Tendrils may be said to possess a sense of touch, and the direction and amplitude of the coiling response can be used to define the characteristics of this sense. These characteristics are, first, that the tendril will coil only in response to ventral mechanical stimulation, that this coiling can be inhibited by subsequent dorsally presented stimulation, and that dorsal stimulation alone causes no coiling. This phenomenon seems to be due to some asymmetry in the response system. Second, the nature of the response is always determined by the location (i.e., dorsal or ventral) of the last stimulation the tendril experienced. Third, the ability of dorsally presented stimulation to reverse ventrally stimulated coiling is gradually lost. Complete escape from reversibility is attained if the interval between ventral and dorsal stimulation reaches 9 minutes. Fourth, the magnitude of response is determined by both the number and the frequency of the stimuli. Both ventrally stimulated coiling and dorsally stimulated inhibition of coiling can be temporarily stopped by a 9-minute cold break at 10 C, given immediately after stimulation. As soon as the tendrils are restored to room temperature, they proceed to respond to the stimulus.

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