Drought-induced expression of aquaporin genes in leaves of two common bean cultivars differing in tolerance to drought stress
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Aquaporin proteins are part of the complex response of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) to drought which affects the quality and quantity of yield of this important crop. To better understand the role of aquaporins in common bean, drought-induced gene expression of several aquaporins was determined in two cultivars, the more drought tolerant Tiber and the less tolerant Starozagorski čern. The two bean cultivars were selected among 16 European genotypes based on the tolerance to drought determined by time needed for plants to wilt after withholding irrigation and yield at harvest. The expression patterns of two plasma membrane intrinsic proteins, PvPIP1;2 and PvPIP2;7, and two tonoplast intrinsic proteins, PvTIP1;1 and PvTIP4;1 in leaves of 21 day old plants were determined by RT-qPCR in both cultivars under three degrees of drought stress, and under rehydration and control conditions. Gene expression of all four examined aquaporins was down-regulated in drought stressed plants. After rehydration it returned to the level of control plants or was even higher. The responses of PvPIP2;7 and PvTIP1;1 during drought and rehydration were particularly pronounced. The gene expression of PvPIP2;7 and PvTIP4;1 during drought was cultivar specific, with greater down-regulation of these two aquaporins in drought tolerant Tiber. Under drought stress the relative water content and water potential of leaves were higher in Tiber than in Starozagorski plants. The differences in these physiological parameters indicate greater prevention of water loss in Tiber during drought, which may be associated with rapid and adequate down-regulation of aquaporins. These results suggest that the ability of plants to conserve water during drought stress involves timely and sufficient down-regulation of gene expression of specific aquaporins.
KeywordsAquaporins Drought Gene expression Common bean
The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Marko Maras for assistance with the selection of cultivars. We thank Dr. Jelka Šuštar-Vozlič for many useful suggestions, Professor Roger H. Pain for reviewing the manuscript and reviewers for their valuable suggestions. This work was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (Grants J4-4126 and P4-0072 and Young researcher grant for Ms. Zupin).
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