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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2011 Sep;49(9):1029-39. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

Identification and characterization of two plasma membrane aquaporins in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum) and their role in abiotic stress tolerance.

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Plant Protection and Improvement Laboratory, Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax, University of Sfax, Route Sidi Mansour Km 6, BP 1177, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia.


Plant plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP) cluster in two phylogenetic groups, PIP1 and PIP2 that have different water channel activities when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. PIP2s induce a marked increase of the membrane osmotic water-permeability coefficient (P(f)), whereas PIP1s are generally inactive. Here we report the cloning of two durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. subsp. durum) cDNAs encoding TdPIP1;1 and TdPIP2;1 belonging to the PIP1 and PIP2 subfamilies, respectively. Contrary to TdPIP1;1, expression of TdPIP2;1 in Xenopus oocytes resulted in an increase in P(f) compared to water-injected oocytes. Co-expression of the non-functional TdPIP1;1 and the functional TdPIP2;1 lead to a significant increase in P(f) compared with oocytes expressing TdPIP2;1 alone. A truncated form of TdPIP2;1, tdpip2;1, missing the first two transmembrane domains, had no water channel activity. Nonetheless, its co-expression with the functional TdPIP2;1 partially inhibits the P(f) and disrupt the activities of plant aquaporins. In contrast to the approach developed in Xenopus oocytes, phenotypic analyses of transgenic tobacco plants expressing TdPIP1;1 or TdPIP2;1 generated a tolerance phenotype towards osmotic and salinity stress. TdPIP1;1 and TdPIP2;1 are differentially regulated in roots and leaves in the salt-tolerant wheat variety when challenged with salt stress and abscisic acid. Confocal microscopy analysis of tobacco roots expressing TdPIP1;1 and TdPIP2;1 fused to the green fluorescent protein showed that the proteins were localized at the plasma membrane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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