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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Apr 26;91(9):4019-23.

Inhibition of inward K+ channels and stomatal response by abscisic acid: an intracellular locus of phytohormone action.

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  • 1Department of Agricultural Botany, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel.


Abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone whose production is stimulated by water stress, reduces the apertures of stomatal pores in the leaf surface, thereby lessening transpirational water loss. It has been thought that inhibition of stomatal opening and promotion of stomatal closure by ABA are initiated by the binding of extracellular ABA to a receptor located in the guard-cell plasma membrane. However, in the present research, we employ three distinct experimental approaches to demonstrate that ABA can act from within guard cells to regulate stomatal apertures. (i) The extent to which ABA inhibits stomatal opening and promotes stomatal closure in Commelina communis L. is proportional to the extent of ABA uptake, as assayed with [3H]ABA. (ii) Direct microinjection of ABA into the cytoplasm of Commelina guard cells precipitates stomatal closure. (iii) Application of ABA to the cytosol of Vicia faba L. guard-cell protoplasts via patch-clamp techniques inhibits inward K+ currents, an effect sufficient to inhibit stomatal opening. These results demonstrate an intracellular locus of phytohormone action and imply that the search for hormone receptor proteins should be extended to include intracellular compartments.

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