Journal Article

Root hydraulic conductance: diurnal aquaporin expression and the effects of nutrient stress

David T. Clarkson, Micaela Carvajal, Tobias Henzler, Rosemary N. Waterhouse, Audra J. Smyth, David T. Cooke and Ernst Steudle

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Volume 51, issue 342, pages 61-70
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Root hydraulic conductance: diurnal aquaporin expression and the effects of nutrient stress

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It has been shown that N‐, P‐ and S‐deficiencies result in major reductions of root hydraulic conductivity (Lpr) which may lead to lowered stomatal conductance, but the relationship between the two conductance changes is not understood. In a variety of species, Lpr decreases in the early stages of [math], H2[math] and [math] deprivation. These effects can be reversed in 4–24 h after the deficient nutrient is re‐supplied. Diurnal fluctuations of root Lpr have also been found in some species, and an example of this is given for Lotus japonicus. In nutrient‐sufficient wheat plants, root Lpr is extremely sensitive to brief treatments with HgCl2; these effects are completely reversible when Hg is removed. The low values of Lpr in N‐ or P‐deprived roots of wheat are not affected by Hg treatments. The properties of plasma membrane (PM) vesicles from wheat roots are also affected by [math]‐deprivation of the intact plants. The osmotic permeability of vesicles from N‐deprived roots is much lower than that of roots adequately supplied with [math], and is insensitive to Hg treatment. In roots of L. japonicus, gene transcripts are found which have a strong homology to those encoding the PIP1 and PIP2 aquaporins of Arabidopsis. There is a very marked diurnal cycle in the abundance of mRNAs of aquaporin gene homologues in roots of L. japonicus. The maxima and minima appear to anticipate the diurnal fluctuations in Lpr by 2–4 h. The temporal similarity between the cycles of the abundance of the mRNAs and root Lpr is most striking. The aquaporin encoded by AtPIP1 is known to have its water permeation blocked by Hg binding. The lack of Hg‐sensitivity in roots and PMs from N‐deprived roots provides circumstantial evidence that lowered root Lpr may be due to a decrease in either the activity of water channels or their density in the PM. It is concluded that roots are capable, by means completely unknown, of monitoring the nutrient content of the solution in the root apoplasm and of initiating responses that anticipate by hours or days any metabolic disturbances caused by nutrient deficiencies. It is the incoming nutrient supply that is registered as deficient, not the plant’s nutrient status. At some point, close to the initiation of these responses, changes in water channel activity may be involved, but the manner in which monitoring of nutrient stress is transduced into an hydraulic response is also unknown.

Keywords: lotus japonicus; hydraulic conductivity; diurnal cycle; aquaporin; root; plasma membrane.

Journal Article.  6703 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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