Photosynthetically active radiation impacts significantly on root and cell hydraulics in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.).Physiol Plant. 2020 Nov; 170(3):357-372.PP
Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) affects transpirational water loss, yet we do not know through which mechanisms root water uptake is adjusted in parallel. Here, we exposed hydroponically grown barley plants to three levels of PAR [Normal (control), Low, High] and focused on the role which aquaporins (AQPs), apoplastic barriers (Casparian bands, suberin lamellae) and root morphology play in the adjustment of root hydraulic conductivity (Lp). Plants were analyzed when they were 14-18 days (d) old. Root and cell Lp, which involves AQP activity, was determined through exudation and cell pressure probe measurements, respectively. Gene expression of AQPs was analyzed through qPCR. The formation of apoplastic barriers was studied through staining of cross-sections. The rate of transpirational water loss per plant and unit leaf area increased in response to high-PAR and decreased in response to low-PAR treatments, both during day and night. Hydraulic conductivity in roots decreased significantly at organ and cell level in response to Low-PAR, and increased (organ) or did not change (cell level) in response to High-PAR. The formation of apoplastic barriers was little affected by PAR. Gene expression of AQPs tended to be highest in the Low-PAR treatment. Lateral roots, showing few apoplastic barriers, contributed the least in Low- and the most to root surface area in High-PAR plants. It is concluded that barley plants which experience changes in shoot transpirational water loss in response to PAR adjust root water uptake through changes in root Lp, and that these changes are mediated through altered AQP activity and root morphology.