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Plant Physiol. 1996 Nov;112(3):1089-100.

Pressure regulation of the electrical properties of growing Arabidopsis thaliana L. root hairs.

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Department of Biology, York University, Ontario, Canada.


Actively growing Arabidopsis thaliana L. (Columbia wild type) root hairs were used to examine the interplay between cell turgor pressure and electrical properties of the cell: membrane potential, conductance, cell-to-cell coupling, and input resistance. Pressure was directly modulated using a pressure probe or indirectly by changing the extracellular osmolarity. Direct modulation of pressure in the range of 0 to about 15 x 10(5) Pa (normal turgor pressure was 6.8 +/- 2.0 x 10(5) Pa, n = 29) did not affect the membrane potential, conductance, coupling, or input resistance. Indirect modulation of turgor pressure by adding (hyperosmotic) or removing (hypo-osmotic) 200 mM mannitol/sorbitol affected the potential and conductance but not cell-to-cell coupling. Hypo-osmotic treatment depolarized the potential about 40 mV from an initial potential of about -190 mV and increased membrane conductance, consistent with an increase in anion efflux from the cell. Hyperosmotic treatment hyperpolarized the cell about 25 mV from the same initial potential and decreased conductance, consistent with a decline in cation influx. The results are likely due to the presence of an "osmo-sensor," rather than a "turgor-sensor," regulating the cell's response to osmotic stress.

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