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J Exp Bot. 2002 Feb;53(367):195-200.

Hydraulic and chemical signalling in the control of stomatal conductance and transpiration.

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Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Abscisic acid (ABA) transported in the xylem from root to shoot and perceived at the guard cell is now widely studied as an essential regulating factor in stomatal closure under drought stress. This provides the plant with a stomatal response mechanism in which water potential is perceived in the root as an indication of soil water status and available water resources. There is also ample evidence that stomata respond directly to some component of leaf water status. This provides additional information about water potential gradients developing between root and shoot as the result of water transport, allowing for a more stable regulation of shoot water status and better protection of the transport system itself. The precise location at which leaf water status is sensed, however, and the molecular events transducing this signal into a guard cell response are not yet known. Major questions therefore remain unanswered on how water stress signals perceived at root and leaf locations are integrated at the guard cell to control stomatal behaviour.

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