The Arabidopsis thaliana aquaporin AtPIP1;2 is a physiologically relevant CO2 transport facilitator


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Cellular exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) is of extraordinary importance for life. Despite this significance, its molecular mechanisms are still unclear and a matter of controversy. In contrast to other living organisms, plants are physiologically limited by the availability of CO2. In most plants, net photosynthesis is directly dependent on CO2 diffusion from the atmosphere to the chloroplast. Thus, it is important to analyze CO2 transport with regards to its effect on photosynthesis. A mutation of the Arabidopsis thaliana AtPIP1;2 gene, which was characterized as a non-water transporting but CO2 transport-facilitating aquaporin in heterologous expression systems, correlated with a reduction in photosynthesis under a wide range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Here, we could demonstrate that the effect was caused by reduced CO2 conductivity in leaf tissue. It is concluded that the AtPIP1;2 gene product limits CO2 diffusion and photosynthesis in leaves.