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Plant Physiol. 1995 Nov;109(3):803-811.

How Do Stomata Read Abscisic Acid Signals?

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Division of Biological Sciences, Institute of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, United Kingdom.


When abscisic acid (ABA) was fed to isolated epidermis of Commelina communis L., stomata showed marked sensitivity to concentrations of ABA lower than those commonly found in the xylem sap of well-watered plants. Stomata were also sensitive to the flux of hormone molecules across the epidermal strip. Stomata in intact leaves of Phaseolus acutifolius were much less sensitive to ABA delivered through the petiole than were stomata in isolated epidermis, suggesting that mesophyll tissue and/or xylem must substantially reduce the dose or activity of ABA received by guard cells. Delivery of the hormone to the leaf was varied by changing transpiration flux and/or concentration. Varying delivery by up to 7-fold by changing transpiration rate had little effect on conductance. At a given delivery rate, variation in concentration by 1 order of magnitude significantly affected conductance at all but the highest concentration fed. The results are discussed in terms of the control of stomatal behavior in the field, where the delivery of ABA to the leaf will vary greatly as a function of both the concentration of hormone in the xylem and the transpiration rate of the plant.

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