▪ Abstract The mechanisms of plant membrane water permeability have remained elusive until the recent discovery in both vacuolar and plasma membranes of a class of water channel proteins named aquaporins. Similar to their animal counterparts, plant aquaporins have six membrane-spanning domains and belong to the MIP superfamily of transmembrane channel proteins. Their very high efficiency and selectivity in transporting water molecules have been mostly characterized using heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes. However, techniques set up to measure the osmotic water permeability of plant membranes such as transcellular osmosis, pressure probe measurements, or stopped-flow spectrophotometry are now being used to analyze the function of plant aquaporins in their native membranes. Multiple mechanisms, at the transcriptional and posttranslational levels, control the expression and activity of the numerous aquaporin isoforms found in plants. These studies suggest a general role for aquaporins in regulating transmembrane water transport during the growth, development, and stress responses of plants. Future research will investigate the integrated function of aquaporins in long-distance water transport and cellular osmoregulation.
Annual Review of Plant Biology – Annual Reviews
Published: Jun 1, 1997
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