Modulation of Root Signals in Relation to Stomatal Sensitivity to Root-sourced Abscisic Acid in Drought-affected Plants


  • Supported by for grants from the State Basic Research and Development Plan of China (2003CB114300), the National Natural Science Funds of China (30470160), the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong (HKBU 2149/04M, HKBU 2165/05M) and the University Grants Council of Hong Kong (AoE/B-07/99).

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Stomatal sensitivity to root signals induced by soil drying may vary between environments and plant species. This is likely to be a result of the interactions and modulations among root signals. As a stress signal, abscisic acid (ABA) plays a central role in root to shoot signaling. pH and hydraulic signals may interact with ABA signals and thus, jointly regulate stomatal responses to changed soil water status. pH itself can be modified by several factors, among which the chemical compositions in the xylem stream and the live cells surrounding the vessels play crucial roles. In addition to the xylem pH, more attention should be paid to the direct modulation of leaf apoplastic pH, because many chemical compositions might strongly modify the leaf apoplastic pH while having no significant effect on the xylem pH. The direct modulation of the ABA signal intensity may be more important for the regulation of stomatal responses to soil drying than the ABA signal per se. The ABA signal is also regulated by the ABA catabolism and the supply of precursors to the roots if a sustained root to shoot communication of soil drying operates at the whole plant level. More importantly, ABA catabolism could play crucial roles in the determination of the fate of the ABA signal and thereby control the stomatal behavior of the root-sourced ABA signal.