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Oxidative gating of water channels (aquaporins) in corn roots

Authors


Ernst Steudle. Fax: +49 921 55 2564; e-mail: ernst.steudle@uni-bayreuth.de

ABSTRACT

An oxidative gating of water channels (aquaporins: AQPs) was observed in roots of corn seedlings as already found for the green alga Chara corallina. In the presence of 35 m m hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) – a precursor of hydroxyl radicals (*OH) – half times of water flow (as measured with the aid of pressure probes) increased at the level of both entire roots and individual cortical cells by factors of three and nine, respectively. This indicated decreases in the hydrostatic hydraulic conductivity of roots (Lphr) and of cells (Lph) by the same factors. Unlike other stresses, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) had no ameliorative effect either on root Lphr or on cell Lph when AQPs were inhibited by oxidative stress. Closure of AQPs reduced the permeability of acetone by factors of two in roots and 1.5 in cells. This indicated that AQPs were not ideally selective for water but allowed the passage of the organic solute acetone. In the presence of H2O2, channel closure caused anomalous (negative) osmosis at both the root and the cell level. This was interpreted by the fact that in the case of the rapidly permeating solute acetone, channel closure caused the solute to move faster than the water and the reflection coefficient (σs) reversed its sign. When H2O2 was removed from the medium, the effects were reversible, again at both the root and the cell level. The results provide evidence of oxidative gating of AQPs, which leads on to inhibition of water uptake by the roots. Possible mechanisms of the oxidative gating of AQPs induced by H2O2 (*OH) are discussed.

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