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Loss of heterophylly in aquatic plants: not ABA-mediated stress but exogenous ABA treatment induces stomatal leaves in Potamogeton perfoliatus

Iida, Satoko, Ikeda, Miyuki, Amano, Momoe, Sakayama, Hidetoshi, Kadono, Yasuro, Kosuge, Keiko
Journal of plant research 2016 v.129 no.5 pp. 853-862
Potamogeton perfoliatus, abscisic acid, aquatic plants, biosynthesis, gene expression regulation, genes, habitats, leaves, phenotypic plasticity, salt stress, stomata, stress response
Heterophyllous aquatic plants produce aerial (i.e., floating and terrestrial) and submerged leaves—the latter lack stomata—while homophyllous plants contain only submerged leaves, and cannot survive on land. To identify whether differences in morphogenetic potential and/or physiological stress responses are responsible for variation in phenotypic plasticity between two plants types, responses to abscisic acid (ABA) and salinity stress were compared between the closely related, but ecologically diverse pondweeds, Potamogeton wrightii (heterophyllous) and P. perfoliatus (homophyllous). The ABA-treated (1 or 10 μM) P. wrightii plants exhibited heterophylly and produced leaves with stomata. The obligate submerged P. perfoliatus plants were able to produce stomata on their leaves, but there were no changes to leaf shape, and stomatal production occurred only at a high ABA concentration (10 μM). Under salinity stress conditions, only P. wrightii leaves formed stomata. Additionally, the expression of stress-responsive NCED genes, which encode a key enzyme in ABA biosynthesis, was consistently up-regulated in P. wrightii, but only temporarily in P. perfoliatus. The observed species-specific gene expression patterns may be responsible for the induction or suppression of stomatal production during exposure to salinity stress. These results suggest that the two Potamogeton species have an innate morphogenetic ability to form stomata, but the actual production of stomata depends on ABA-mediated stress responses specific to each species and habitat.