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J Exp Bot. 2012 Jan;63(1):43-57. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err266. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Regulation of root water uptake under abiotic stress conditions.

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Departamento de Microbiología del Suelo y Sistemas Simbióticos, Estación Experimental del Zaidín (CSIC), Profesor Albareda 1, 18008, Granada, Spain.


A common effect of several abiotic stresses is to cause tissue dehydration. Such dehydration is caused by the imbalance between root water uptake and leaf transpiration. Under some specific stress conditions, regulation of root water uptake is more crucial to overcome stress injury than regulation of leaf transpiration. This review first describes present knowledge about how water is taken up by roots and then discusses how specific stress situations such as drought, salinity, low temperature, and flooding modify root water uptake. The rate of root water uptake of a given plant is the result of its root hydraulic characteristics, which are ultimately regulated by aquaporin activity and, to some extent, by suberin deposition. Present knowledge about the effects of different stresses on these features is also summarized. Finally, current findings regarding how molecular signals such as the plant hormones abscisic acid, ethylene, and salicylic acid, and how reactive oxygen species may modulate the final response of root water uptake under stress conditions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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