We studied the effects of drought on leaf conductance (g) and on the concentration of abscisic acid (ABA) in the apoplastic sap of Lupinus albus L. leaves. Withholding watering for 5d resulted in complete stomatal closure and in severe leaf water deficit. Leaf water potential fully recovered immediately after rewatering, but the aftereffect of drought on stomata persisted for 2d. ABA and sucrose were quantified in pressurized leaf xylem extrudates. We assumed that the xylem sucrose concentration is negligible and hence that the presence of sucrose in leaf extrudates indicated that they were contaminated by phloem. To eliminate this interference, the concentration of ABA in leaf apoplast was estimated by extrapolation to zero sucrose concentration, using the regression between ABA and sucrose concentrations. The estimated apoplastic ABA concentration increased by 100-fold with soil drying and did not return to pre-stress values immediately following rewatering. g was closely related to the concentration of ABA in leaf apoplast. Furthermore, the feeding of exogenous ABA to leaves detached from well-watered plants brought about the same degree of depression in g as resulted from the drought-induced increase in ABA concentration. We therefore conclude that the observed changes in the concentration of ABA in leaf apoplast were quantitatively adequate to explain drought-induced stomatal closure and the delay in stomatal reopening following rewatering.
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