1. Evidence has accumulated that the action of auxins in promoting growth is exerted not upon the cell wall but upon the cell contents; i.e., the protoplasm. Following indications previously obtained, therefore, the effect of auxins on the rate of protoplasm streaming in the Avena coleoptile was studied.
2. Indole-3-acetic acid, the most active auxin available in pure form, was found to increase the rate of streaming in the epidermal cells of the Avena coleoptile at concentrations between 0.5 and 0.002 mg. per liter, the maximum increase being brought about at 0.01 mg. per liter. This concentration is approximately that which, applied in agar to one side of the decapitated coleoptile, would give a curvature of 1°; i.e., it is well within the range of concentrations active in growth promotion. It is, however, much less than that which produces maximum elongation in immersed sections of Avena coleoptiles.
3. This accelerating effect is readily determined quantitatively by comparison with the streaming in control coleoptiles in pure water, which, if thoroughly aerated, maintain a constant rate for over an hour. The accelerating effect takes place immediately and is over within about 30 minutes.
4. Concentrations of indole-3-acetic acid greater than 0.5 mg.per liter inhibit the streaming, the effect being also over in about 30 minutes, and its extent increasing with increasing auxin concentration. This parallels the effect of high auxin concentrations in inhibiting elongation, although the inhibition of streaming is obtained at much lower concentrations than inhibit elongation.
5. The effects of indole-3-acetic acid on streaming are not specific for that substance, but appear to be common to auxins in general. Thus coumaryl-3-acetic acid and allocinnamic acid, both of which bring about cell enlargement, root formation, and bud inhibition, i.e. are typical auxins, also cause an immediate acceleration of the rate of streaming, and as with indole-acetic add the effect is over in about 30 minutes. The concentrations of these two substances which produce the maximum effect are about ten times that of indole-acetic acid, which approximately corresponds with their relative auxin activities. The curves relating concentrations of these substances to their effects on streaming are very similar to that for indole-acetic acid.
6. On the other hand, certain substances which are known to affect streaming in other materials do not produce any effect comparable to that of auxin. Ethylene chlorhydrin, histidine, and urea in all concentrations were without effect on streaming in the Avena coleoptile within the first 30 minutes of treatment.
7. The effects produced by the auxins were not due to pH.
8. The action on streaming here studied is evidently quite different from the re-starting of streaming after its cessation, studied by Fitting in Vallisneria. Correspondingly histidine, which in Fitting's experiments showed activity down to 10–7 M, is inactive here.
9. Per contra, the effect of auxin here studied is on normal streaming. It takes place immediately and at concentrations in the same range as those which produce growth. The curve of effect against concentration parallels that for growth although the actual concentration values differ. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that the effect of auxin on streaming is closely connected with one of the first stages of its effect on the growth process.