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Stem girdling uncouples soybean stomatal conductance from leaf water potential by enhancing leaf xylem ABA concentration

Castro, Pedro, Puertolas, Jaime, Dodd, Ian C.
Environmental and experimental botany 2019 v.159 pp. 149-156
Glycine max, abscisic acid, drought, drying, girdling, leaf water potential, leaves, phloem, roots, sap, shoots, soil, soybeans, stomatal conductance, stomatal movement, xylem
To understand the impact of shoot-to-root ABA transport on water potential of, and xylem ABA concentration in, different plant tissues during soil drying, soybean (Glycine max cv. Siverka) plants were subjected to drought and girdling in a factorial experiment. Girdling was achieved by surgically excising the phloem tissue from just above the cotyledonary node. After girdling and withholding water, ABA concentrations were determined in xylem saps extracted from individual leaves, detached shoots and de-topped roots, after measuring stomatal conductance (gs), tissue water potentials, and root ABA concentrations. Soil drying decreased water potential throughout the plant and approximately doubled xylem ABA concentrations, coinciding with stomatal closure. Girdling slightly enhanced water potential, especially in droughted plants. Girdling diminished the soil-drying induced increase in xylem sap ABA concentration, and completely prevented root tissue ABA accumulation. Furthermore, girdling decreased root ABA concentration and increased leaf xylem ABA concentration of well-watered (WW) plants. Stomatal conductance declined linearly with leaf water potential only in intact plants, while gs declined as leaf xylem ABA concentration increased, independently of girdling. Thus shoot to root ABA transport not only determines (soil-drying induced) root ABA accumulation, but also limits ABA accumulation in the shoot to maintain stomatal opening of WW plants.