Plasma membrane aquaporins regulate root hydraulic conductivity in the model plant Setaria viridis

Atara Gal, Ahan Dalal, Moran Anfang, Davinder Sharma, Jenia Binenbaum, Purity Muchaki, Rakesh Kumar, Aiman Egbaria, Karoline Estefani Duarte, Gilor Kelly, Wagner Rodrigo de Souza, Nir Sade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The high rate of productivity observed in panicoid crops is in part due to their extensive root system. Recently, green foxtail (Setaria viridis) has emerged as a genetic model system for panicoid grasses. Natural accessions of S. viridis originating from different parts of the world, with differential leaf physiological behavior, have been identified. This work focused on understanding the physiological and molecular mechanisms controlling root hydraulic conductivity and root-to-shoot gas exchange signaling in S. viridis. We identified 2 accessions, SHA and ZHA, with contrasting behavior at the leaf, root, and whole-plant levels. Our results indicated a role for root aquaporin (AQP) plasma membrane (PM) intrinsic proteins in the differential behavior of SHA and ZHA. Moreover, a different root hydraulic response to low levels of abscisic acid between SHA and ZHA was observed, which was associated with root AQPs. Using cell imaging, biochemical, and reverse genetic approaches, we identified PM intrinsic protein 1;6 (PIP1;6) as a possible PIP1 candidate that regulates radial root hydraulics and root-to-shoot signaling of gas exchange in S. viridis. In heterologous systems, PIP1;6 localized in the endoplasmic reticulum, and upon interaction with PIP2s, relocalization to the PM was observed. PIP1;6 was predominantly expressed at the root endodermis. Generation of knockout PIP1;6 plants (KO-PIP1;6) in S. viridis showed altered root hydraulic conductivity, altered gas exchange, and alteration of root transcriptional patterns. Our results indicate that PIPs are essential in regulating whole-plant water homeostasis in S. viridis. We conclude that root hydraulic conductivity and gas exchange are positively associated and are regulated by AQPs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2640-2641
Number of pages2
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2023 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


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