, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1089-1099

Desiccation- and abscisic acid-responsive genes encoding major intrinsic proteins (MIPs) from the resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum

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Abstract

Major intrinsic proteins (MIPs) are a family of channel proteins that are mainly represented by aquaporins in plants. These are divided into TIPs (tonoplast intrinsic proteins) and PIPs (plasma membrane intrinsic proteins) according to their subcellular localization. Homologues to PIPs and TIPs were isolated from the desiccation-tolerant resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum by two approaches: firstly, a cDNA library constructed from RNA of dehydrated C. plantagineum leaves was screened with an Arabidopsis thaliana Ath-PIP1b cDNA probe and, secondly, a cDNA library was screened differentially to isolate early drought-induced transcripts. According to sequence homologies the isolated cDNA clones were grouped as follows: Cp-PIPa, Cp-PIPb, Cp-PIPc and Cp-TIP.

Cp-PIPa, Cp-PIPc and Cp-TIP transcript accumulation was regulated by dehydration and abscisic acid (ABA). Within the Cp-PIPa group transcripts were regulated either by drought only or by drought and ABA, indicating that ABA-dependent and -independent signal transduction pathways lead to Cp-PIPa expression. Comparison of Cp-PIPa expression in detached leaves and in whole plants suggested the involvement of a signal transmitted in the whole plant in response to drought. Cp-PIPb transcript levels were constitutive in all organs tested.

Antibodies raised against a Cp-PIPA protein recognized a polypeptide with an apparent molecular mass of 28 kDa. Using these antibodies it was shown that both Cp-PIPA and Cp-PIPB proteins were localized to the plasma membrane. The role of different members of the MIP group in the dehydration response is discussed.