A biophysical study of abscisic acid interaction with membrane phospholipid components


*To whom correspondence should be addressed.


Molecular area/surface pressure Langmuir isotherms of amphiphilic dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) monolayers indicated that abscisic acid (ABA) has a marked rigidifying effect, expressed as reduction of molecular area and increase of monolayer collapse point. Moreover, ABA markedly increased aqueous droplet hydrophobicity, as indicated by a concentration-dependent increase of contact angle when placed on a hydrocarbon chain surface; no such effects were obtained on either amphiphilic or octadecyltrichlorosilane surfaces. A combination of TLC and mass spectometry revealed the presence of DPPC in Vicia faba and Commelina communis guard-cell protoplast membranes. ABA also increased plasma membrane rigidity as evidenced by probing with lipid specific membrane probes, namely diphenylhexatriene and its trimethyl derivative. Regarded together the results suggest a specific site of ABA binding to DPPC. The linkage between senescence and stomatal closure is discussed in the light of the new data presented here. It is suggested that DPPC in guard-cell membranes may have a physical role in preventing collapse and/or bursting. In this connection an analogy is drawn with pulmonary mechanisms.