Carbon dioxide and water transport through plant aquaporins




Groszmann, Michael
Osborn, Hannah
Evans, John

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd


Aquaporins are channel proteins that function to increase the permeability of biological membranes. In plants, aquaporins are encoded by multigene families that have undergone substantial diversification in land plants. The Plasma membrane Intrinsic Proteins (PIPs) subfamily of aquaporins are of particular interest given their potential to improve plant water relations and photosynthesis. Flowering plants have between 7 and 28 PIP genes. Their expression varies with tissue and cell type, through development and in response to a variety of factors, contributing to the dynamic and tissue specific control of permeability. There are a growing number of PIPs shown to act as water channels, but those altering membrane permeability to CO2 are more limited. The structural basis for selective substrate specificities has not yet been resolved, although a few key amino acid positions have been identified. Several regions important for dimerization, gating and trafficking are also known. PIP aquaporins assemble as tetramers and their properties depend on the monomeric composition. PIPs control water flux into and out of veins and stomatal guard cells and also increase membrane permeability to CO2 in mesophyll and stomatal guard cells. The latter increases the effectiveness of Rubisco and can potentially influence transpiration efficiency.





Plant Cell and Environment


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