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Aquaporins influence seed dormancy and germination in response to stress

Footitt, Steven, Clewes, Rachel, Feeney, Mistianne, Finch‐Savage, William E., Frigerio, Lorenzo
Plant, cell and environment 2019 v.42 no.8 pp. 2325-2339
abscisic acid, aquaporins, gene expression, global warming, seed dormancy, seed germination, seeds, soil quality, solutes, stress response, tonoplast, water flow, water stress
Aquaporins influence water flow in plants, yet little is known of their involvement in the water‐driven process of seed germination. We therefore investigated their role in seeds in the laboratory and under field and global warming conditions. We mapped the expression of tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIPs) during dormancy cycling and during germination under normal and water stress conditions. We found that the two key tonoplast aquaporins, TIP3;1 and TIP3;2, which have previously been implicated in water or solute transport, respectively, act antagonistically to modulate the response to abscisic acid, with TIP3;1 being a positive and TIP3;2 a negative regulator. A third isoform, TIP4;1, which is normally expressed upon completion of germination, was found to play an earlier role during water stress. Seed TIPs also contribute to the regulation of depth of primary dormancy and differences in the induction of secondary dormancy during dormancy cycling. Protein and gene expression during annual cycling under field conditions and a global warming scenario further illustrate this role. We propose that the different responses of the seed TIP contribute to mechanisms that influence dormancy status and the timing of germination under variable soil conditions.