, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 985-995

Expression of two PIP genes in rapidly growing internodes of rice is not primarily controlled by meristem activity or cell expansion

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Abstract

Membrane intrinsic proteins facilitate movement of small molecules often times functioning as water channels. We have identified two genes from rice which encode proteins with characteristic features of plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP). They possess six membrane-spanning domains, an NPA repeat, overall high sequence homologies and characteristic C- and N-terminal hallmark motifs which allowed assignment of OsPIP1a to the PIP1 subfamily and of OsPIP2a to the PIP2 subfamily. OsPIP1a and OsPIP2a showed similar but not identical expression patterns. The two genes were expressed at higher levels in seedlings than in adult plants and expression in the primary root was regulated by light. In internodes of deepwater rice plants which were induced to grow rapidly by submergence, transcript levels were slightly induced in the intercalary meristem (IM) and slightly reduced in the elongation zone (EZ) after 18 h. In internodes of GA-induced excised stem sections transcript levels transiently declined in the IM and EZ after 1 h and subsequently recovered to elevated levels after 18 h. GA also induced OsPIP expression in non-growing tissue after 18 h. In the IM of submergence-induced stem sections transcript levels remained constitutive. The different growth-promoting treatments showed no direct correlation between growth rate and OsPIP gene expression in dividing or expanding cells. In fact, treatment of excised stem sections with ABA or drought stress induced similar changes in OsPIP expression in the growing zone during the first 6 h as GA did. We conclude that regulation of OsPIP1a and OsPIP2a expression is not primarily controlled by growth. GA-induced growth may however change the water status of cells which in turn results in altered PIP abundance.