Author(s): Maurel C, Javot H, Lauvergeat V, Gerbeau P, Tournaire C,
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Abstract In plants, membrane channels of the major intrinsic protein (MIP) super-family exhibit a high diversity with, for instance, 35 homologues in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. As has been found in other organisms, plant MIPs function as membrane channels permeable to water (aquaporins) and in some cases to small nonelectrolytes. The aim of the present article is to integrate into plant physiology what has been recently learned about the molecular and functional properties of aquaporins in plants. Exhaustive compilation of data in the literature shows that the numerous aquaporin isoforms of plants have specific expression patterns throughout plant development and in response to environmental stimuli. The diversity of aquaporin homologues in plants can also be explained in part by their presence in multiple subcellular compartments. In recent years, there have been numerous reports that describe the activity of water channels in purified membrane vesicles, in isolated organelles or protoplasts, and in intact plant cells or even tissues. Altogether, these data suggest that the transport of water and solutes across plant membranes concerns many facets of plant physiology. Because of the high degree of compartmentation of plant cells, aquaporins may play a critical role in cell osmoregulation. Water uptake in roots represents a typical process in which to investigate the role of aquaporins in transcellular water transport, and the mechanisms and regulations involved are discussed.
This article was published in Int Rev Cytol
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development