|MadSci Network: Earth Sciences|
I must start by saying that I have not worked in this area and I do not have direct knowledge of these issues. Unfortunately, I have not had the time fully explore the literature in this area. However, I have found some articles that provide a starting point for further investigation. Caffeine is an alkaloid that exhibits some structural similarities to nucleic acid bases. In fact, it has been demonstrated that caffeine can inhibit the transport of adenine and cytosine in plant cells (Gillissen-B; Burkle-L; Andre-B; Kuhn-C; Rentsch-D; Brandl-B; Frommer-WB, Plant-Cell. 2000 Feb; 12(2): 291-300). Caffeine can also affect plant growth by inhibiting the enzyme invertase, involved in sugar metabolism (Rojo-HP; Quiroga-EN; Vattuone-MA; Sampietro-AR, Biochem-Mol-Biol-Int. 1997 Dec; 43(6): 1331-8). Perhaps the most interesting articles I found demonstrated that caffeine can interfere will cell division in plants. This appears to be manifest by arresting the cell during a stage of mitosis preventing the cell from completing division. If caffeine is applied to root tissues, many cells were later found to contain more than one nucleus. As I said, this is not my area of research and I have not read these articles fully, so I will not try to give details here. I direct you to the literature listed below. Chen-Y; Zhang-L; Zhou-Y; Geng-Y; Chen-Z, Mutat-Res. 2000 Jul 20; 452(1): 67- 72 Gimenez-Abian-MI; Utrilla-L; Canovas-JL; Gimenez-Martin-G; Navarrete-MH; De- la-Torre-C, Planta. 1998 Jan; 204(1): 37-43 Gu-X; Verma-DP, Plant-Cell. 1997 Feb; 9(2): 157-69 del-Campo-A; Gimenez-Martin-G; Lopez-Saez-JF; de-la-Torre-C, Eur-J-Cell- Biol. 1997 Nov; 74(3): 289-93 I hope this helps. Cheers, Mark.
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