Transpirational demand affects aquaporin expression in poplar roots.

University of Alberta, Department of Renewable Resources, 4-42 Earth Sciences Building, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T6G 2E3.
Journal of Experimental Botany (Impact Factor: 5.79). 04/2013; DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert096
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Isohydric plants tend to maintain a water potential homeostasis primarily by controlling water loss via stomatal conductance. However, there is accumulating evidence that plants can also modulate water uptake in a dynamic manner. The dynamics of water uptake are influenced by aquaporin-mediated changes in root hydraulics. Most studies in this area have been conducted on herbaceous plants, and less is known about responses of woody plants. Here a study was conducted to determine how roots of hybrid poplar plants (Populus trichocarpa×deltoides) respond to a step change in transpirational demand. The main objective was to measure the expression of selected aquaporin genes and to assess how transcriptional responses correspond to changes in root water flow (Q R) and other parameters of water relations. A subset of plants was grown in shade and was subsequently exposed to a 5-fold increase in light level. Another group of plants was grown at ~95% relative humidity (RH) and was then subjected to lower RH while the light level remained unchanged. Both plant groups experienced a transient drop in stem water potentials. At 28h after the increase in transpirational demand, water potentials recovered. This recovery was associated with changes in the expression of PIP1 and PIP2 subfamily genes and an increase in Q R. Stomata of plants growing at high RH were larger and showed incomplete closure after application of abscisic acid. Since stomatal conductance remained high and unchanged in these plants, it is suggested that the recovery in water potential in these plants was largely driven by the increase in Q R.

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