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
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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.
Secchi F, Perrone I, Chitarra W, Zwieniecka AK, Lovisolo C, Zwieniecki MA. The Dynamics of Embolism Refilling in Abscisic Acid (ABA)-Deficient Tomato Plants. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(1):359-377.
Secchi, Francesca; Perrone, Irene; Chitarra, Walter; Zwieniecka, Anna K.; Lovisolo, Claudio; Zwieniecki, Maciej A. 2013. "The Dynamics of Embolism Refilling in Abscisic Acid (ABA)-Deficient Tomato Plants." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 1: 359-377.