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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(1), 359-377; doi:10.3390/ijms14010359
Article

The Dynamics of Embolism Refilling in Abscisic Acid (ABA)-Deficient Tomato Plants

1,2,* , 2,3
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3
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4
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3
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1 UC Davis, PES, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA 2 Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 1300 Centre St, Boston, MA 02131, USA 3 Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (AGRIFORFOOD), University of Turin, Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44, Grugliasco 10095, Italy 4 BioLabs, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 November 2012 / Revised: 18 December 2012 / Accepted: 19 December 2012 / Published: 24 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics)
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Abstract

Plants are in danger of embolism formation in xylem vessels when the balance between water transport capacity and transpirational demand is compromised. To maintain this delicate balance, plants must regulate the rate of transpiration and, if necessary, restore water transport in embolized vessels. Abscisic acid (ABA) is the dominant long-distance signal responsible for plant response to stress, and it is possible that it plays a role in the embolism/refilling cycle. To test this idea, a temporal analysis of embolism and refilling dynamics, transpiration rate and starch content was performed on ABA-deficient mutant tomato plants. ABA-deficient mutants were more vulnerable to embolism formation than wild-type plants, and application of exogenous ABA had no effect on vulnerability. However, mutant plants treated with exogenous ABA had lower stomatal conductance and reduced starch content in the xylem parenchyma cells. The lower starch content could have an indirect effect on the plant’s refilling activity. The results confirm that plants with high starch content (moderately stressed mutant plants) were more likely to recover from loss of water transport capacity than plants with low starch content (mutant plants with application of exogenous ABA) or plants experiencing severe water stress. This study demonstrates that ABA most likely does not play any direct role in embolism refilling, but through the modulation of carbohydrate content, it could influence the plant’s capacity for refilling.
Keywords: abscisic acid; ABA-deficient tomato; starch; vessel embolism; water stress abscisic acid; ABA-deficient tomato; starch; vessel embolism; water stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Secchi, F.; Perrone, I.; Chitarra, W.; Zwieniecka, A.K.; Lovisolo, C.; Zwieniecki, M.A. The Dynamics of Embolism Refilling in Abscisic Acid (ABA)-Deficient Tomato Plants. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 359-377.

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