A proteomic study reveals novel insights into the diversity of aquaporin forms expressed in the plasma membrane of plant roots

Biochem J. 2003 Jul 1;373(Pt 1):289-96. doi: 10.1042/BJ20030159.


Aquaporins are channel proteins that facilitate the diffusion of water across cell membranes. The genome of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes 35 full-length aquaporin homologues. Thirteen of them belong to the plasma membrane intrinsic protein (PIP) subfamily and predominantly sit at the plasma membrane (PM). In the present work we combine separations of membrane proteins (by one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis) with identification by MS (matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization-time-of-flight and electrospray-ionization tandem MS) to take an inventory of aquaporin isoforms expressed in the PM of Arabidopsis thaliana roots. Our analysis provides direct evidence for the expression of five PIPs (PIP1;1, PIP1;5, PIP2;1, PIP2;2 and PIP2;7) in the root PM and suggests the presence of at least three other PIP isoforms. In addition, we show that the same PIP isoform can be present under several forms with distinct isoelectric points. More specifically, we identify phosphorylated aquaporins in the PIP1 and PIP2 subgroups and suggest the existence of other post-translational modifications. Their identification should provide clues to reveal novel molecular mechanisms for aquaporin regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aquaporins / chemistry*
  • Aquaporins / isolation & purification
  • Aquaporins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / chemistry*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Phosphopeptides / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Proteome*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Aquaporins
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phosphopeptides
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proteome