, Volume 222, Issue 2, pp 258–268 | Cite as

Aquaporins in poplar: What a difference a symbiont makes!

  • Žaklina Marjanović
  • Norbert Uehlein
  • Ralf Kaldenhoff
  • Janusz J. Zwiazek
  • Michael Weiß
  • Rüdiger Hampp
  • Uwe NehlsEmail author
Original Article


The formation of ectomycorrhizas, a tight association between fine roots of trees and certain soil fungi, improves plant nutrition in a nutrient-limited environment and may increase plant survival under water stress conditions. To investigate the impact of mycorrhiza formation on plant water uptake, seven genes coding for putative water channel proteins (aquaporins) were isolated from a poplar ectomycorrhizal cDNA library. Four out of the seven genes were preferentially expressed in roots. Mycorrhiza formation resulted in an increased transcript level for three of these genes, two of which are the most prominently expressed aquaporins in roots. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, the corresponding proteins of both genes were able to transport water. Together, these data indicate, that the water transport capacity of the plasma membrane of root cells is strongly increased in mycorrhized plants. Measurements of the hydraulic conductance of intact root systems revealed an increased water transport capacity of mycorrhized poplar roots. These data, however, also indicate that changes in the properties of the plasma membrane as well as those of the apoplast are responsible for the increased root hydraulic conductance in ectomycorrhizal symbiosis.


Ectomycorrhiza Water transport Aquaporin Root hydraulic conductance Poplar phylogeny 





Membrane intrinsic protein


Plasma membrane intrinsic protein


Tonoplast intrinsic protein


Nodulin-intrinsic protein


Small intrinsic protein


Osmotic permeability coefficient


Hydraulic conductance


Hydraulic conductivity


Activation energy


Polymerase chain reaction



We are indebted to Margret Ecke, Tawfik Muhsin and Andrea Bock for excellent technical assistance and to Dr. Nina Grunze for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ha 970/10-1 and Ne 332/7-1) as part of the focus program SSP1084 ”Molekulare Grundlagen der Mykorrhiza Symbiose”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Žaklina Marjanović
    • 1
  • Norbert Uehlein
    • 2
  • Ralf Kaldenhoff
    • 2
  • Janusz J. Zwiazek
    • 3
  • Michael Weiß
    • 4
  • Rüdiger Hampp
    • 1
  • Uwe Nehls
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Physiologische Ökologie der PflanzenEberhard-Karls-UniversitätTubingenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Botanik, Angewandte PflanzenwissenschaftenUniversität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Spezielle Botanik und MykologieEberhard-Karls-UniversitätTubingenGermany

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