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Mol Cells. 1999 Feb 28;9(1):84-90.

Characterization of two new channel protein genes in Arabidopsis.

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Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Center, Gyeongsang National University, Chinju, Korea.


Aquaporins, small channel proteins, found in a variety of organisms are members of the major intrinsic protein (MIP) superfamily and have been shown to facilitate water transport when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We isolated two Arabidopsis cDNAs, SIMIP and SITIP, that encode protein homologues of the MIP superfamily. SIMIP exhibits a high degree of sequence homology to PIP3 and MIP1, and thus may belong to the plasmamembrane intrinsic protein (PIP) subfamily, whereas salt-stress inducible tonoplast intrinsic protein (SITIP) is highly homologous to VM23 and gamma-TIP, and therefore may belong to the TIP subfamily. Expression studies revealed that the two genes showed a different expression pattern. The SIMIP gene was expressed in a tissue-specific manner, for example, its highest transcript level is found in flowers, relatively low levels in siliques, and very low level in leaves and roots. In contrast, SITIP was expressed in nearly equal amounts in all the tissues we examined. Also, the expression of SIMIP and SITIP showed a temporal regulation pattern. For example, the highest expression level was at 1 week after germination. In addition, the transcript levels of SIMIP and SMTIP were increased upon NaCl and ABA treatments. The biological function of the 2 genes were investigated using two NaCl stress-sensitive yeast mutant strains. The mutant yeast cells expressing these 2 genes were more resistant to high NaCl conditions. The results suggest that the proteins encoded by these genes may be involved in the osmoregulation in plants under high osmotic stress such as under a high salt condition.

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