Boron Toxicity Reduces Water Transport from Root to Shoot in Arabidopsis Plants. Evidence for a Reduced Transpiration Rate and Expression of Major PIP Aquaporin Genes.Plant Cell Physiol. 2018 Apr 01; 59(4):836-844.PC
Toxic boron (B) concentrations cause impairments in several plant metabolic and physiological processes. Recently we reported that B toxicity led to a decrease in the transpiration rate of Arabidopsis plants in an ABA-dependent process within 24 h, which could indicate the occurrence of an adjustment of whole-plant water relations in response to this stress. Since plasma membrane intrinsic protein (PIP) aquaporins are key components influencing the water balance of plants because of their involvement in root water uptake and tissue hydraulic conductance, the aim of the present work was to study the effects of B toxicity on these important parameters affecting plant water status over a longer period of time. For this purpose, transpiration rate, water transport to the shoot and transcript levels of genes encoding four major PIP aquaporins were measured in Arabidopsis plants treated or not with a toxic B concentration. Our results indicate that, during the first 24 h of B toxicity, increased shoot ABA content would play a key role in reducing stomatal conductance, transpiration rate and, consequently, the water transport to the shoot. These physiological responses to B toxicity were maintained for up to 48 h of B toxicity despite shoot ABA content returning to control levels. In addition, B toxicity also caused the down-regulation of several genes encoding root and shoot aquaporins, which could reduce the cell to cell movement of water in plant tissues and, consequently, the water flux to shoot. All these changes in the water balance of plants under B toxicity could be a mechanism to prevent excess B accumulation in plant tissues.