In plants, aquaporins (AQP) occur in multiple isoforms in both plasmalemma and tonoplast membranes resulting in regulation of water flow in and out of cells, and ultimately, water transfer through a series of cells in leaves and roots. Consequently, it is not surprising that physiological and molecular studies have identified AQPs as playing key roles in regulating hydraulic conductance in roots and leaves. As a result, the activity of AQPs influences a range of physiological processes including phloem loading, xylem water exit, stomatal aperture and gas exchange. The influence of AQPs on hydraulic conductance in plants is particularly important in regulating plant transpiration rate, particularly under conditions of developing soil water-deficit stress and elevated atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD). In this review, we examine the impact of AQP activity and hydraulic conductance on crop water use and the identification of genotypes that express soil water conservation as a result of these traits. An important outcome of this research has been the identification and commercialization of cultivars of peanut (Arachis hypogaea
L.), maize (Zea mays
L.), and soybean (Glycine max
(Merr) L.) for dry land production systems.
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