Dynamic changes in the osmotic water permeability of protoplast plasma membrane

Menachem Moshelion, Nava Moran*, François Chaumont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The osmotic water permeability coefficient (Pf) of plasma membrane of maize (Zea mays) Black Mexican Sweet protoplasts changed dynamically during a hypoosmotic challenge, as revealed using a model-based computational approach. The best-fitting model had three free parameters: initial P f, Pf rate-of-change (slopePf), and a delay, which were hypothesized to reflect changes in the number and/or activity of aquaporins in the plasma membrane. Remarkably, the swelling response was delayed 2 to 11 s after start of the noninstantaneous (but accounted for) bath flush. The Pf during the delay was ≤1 μm s-1. During the swelling period following the delay, Pf changed dynamically: within the first 15 s Pf either (1) increased gradually to approximately 8 μm s-1 (in the majority population of low-initial-Pf cells) or (2) increased abruptly to 10 to 20 μm s-1 and then decreased gradually to 3 to 6 μm s-1 (in the minority population of high-initial-Pf cells). We affirmed the validity of our computational approach by the ability to reproduce previously reported initial Pf values (including the absence of delay) in control experiments on Xenopus oocytes expressing the maize aquaporin ZmPIP2;5. Although mercury did not affect the Pf in swelling Black Mexican Sweet cells, phloretin, another aquaporin inhibitor, inhibited swelling in a predicted manner, prolonging the delay and slowing Pf increase, thereby confirming the hypothesis that Pf dynamics, delay included, reflected the varying activity of aquaporins.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2301-2317
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


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