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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Aug;1758(8):1134-41. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

Functional aquaporin diversity in plants.

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Darmstadt University of Technology, Institute of Botany, Applied Plant Science, Schnittspahnstr. 10, D-64287 Darmstadt.


Due to the fact that most plants are immobile, a rapid response of physiological processes to changing environmental conditions is essential for their survival. Thus, in comparison to many other organisms, plants might need a more sophisticated tuning of water balance. Among others, this is reflected by the comparable large amount of aquaporin genes in plant genomes. So far, aquaporins were shown to be involved in many physiological processes like root water uptake, reproduction or photosynthesis. Their classification as simple water pores has changed according to their molecular function into channels permeable for water, small solutes and/or gases. An adjustment of the corresponding physiological process could be achieved by regulation mechanisms. Concerning aquaporins these range from posttranslational modification, molecular trafficking to heteromerization of aquaporin isoforms. The aim of this review is to underline the function of the four plant aquaporin family subclasses with regard to the substrate specificity, regulation and physiological relevance.

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