The plant multidrug resistance ABC transporter AtMRP5 is involved in guard cell hormonal signalling and water use

Plant J. 2003 Jan;33(1):119-29. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.016012.x.


Carbon dioxide uptake and water release through stomata, controlling the opening and closure of stomatal pore size in the leaf surface, is critical for optimal plant performance. Stomatal movements are regulated by multiple signalling pathways involving guard cell ion channels. Using reverse genetics, we recently isolated a T-DNA insertion mutant for the Arabidopsis ABC-transporter AtMRP5 (mrp5-1). Guard cells from mrp5-1 mutant plants were found to be insensitive to the sulfonylurea compound glibenclamide, which in the wild type induces stomatal opening in the dark. Here, we report that the knockout in AtMRP5 affects several signalling pathways controlling stomatal movements. Stomatal apertures of mrp5-1 and wild-type Ws-2 were identical in the dark. In contrast, opening of stomata of mrp5-1 plants was reduced in the light. In the light, stomatal closure of mrp5-1 was insensitive to external calcium and abscisic acid, a phytohormone responsible for stomatal closure during drought stress. In contrast to Ws-2, the phytohormone auxin could not stimulate stomatal opening in the mutant in darkness. All stomatal phenotypes were complemented in transgenic mrp5-1 plants transformed with a cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S-AtMRP5 construct. Both whole-plant and single-leaf gas exchange measurements demonstrated a reduced transpiration rate of mrp5-1 in the light. Excised leaves of mutant plants exhibited reduced water loss, and water uptake was strongly decreased at the whole-plant level. Finally, if plants were not watered, mrp5-1 plants survived much longer due to reduced water use. Analysis of CO2 uptake and transpiration showed that mrp5-1 plants have increased water use efficiency. Mutant plants overexpressing AtMRP5 under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter again exhibited wild-type characteristics. These results demonstrate that multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) are important components of guard cell functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Germination / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Water / metabolism


  • ATMRP5 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Water