Transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants overexpressing an aquaporin respond differently to various abiotic stresses
Despite the high isoform multiplicity of aquaporins in plants, with 35 homologues including 13 plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIPs) in Arabidosis thaliana, the individual and integrated functions of aquaporins under various physiological conditions remain unclear. To better understand aquaporin functions in plants under various stress conditions, we examined transgenic Arabidopsis and tobacco plants that constitutively overexpress Arabidopsis PIP1;4 or PIP2;5 under various abiotic stress conditions. No significant differences in growth rates and water transport were found between the transgenic and wild-type plants when grown under favorable growth conditions. The transgenic plants overexpressing PIP1;4 or PIP2;5 displayed a rapid water loss under dehydration stress, which resulted in retarded germination and seedling growth under drought stress. In contrast, the transgenic plants overexpressing PIP1;4 or PIP2;5 showed enhanced water flow and facilitated germination under cold stress. The expression of several PIPs was noticeably affected by the overexpression of PIP1;4 or PIP2;5 in Arabidopsis under dehydration stress, suggesting that the expression of one aquaporin isoform influences the expression levels of other aquaporins under stress conditions. Taken together, our results demonstrate that overexpression of an aquaporin affects the expression of endogenous aquaporin genes and thereby impacts on seed germination, seedling growth, and stress responses of the plants under various stress conditions.
KeywordsAbiotic stress Aquaporin Arabidopsis thaliana Tobacco Transgenic plants Water channel
Plasma membrane intrinsic protein
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