Activation of abscisic acid biosynthesis in the leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana in response to water deficit

J Plant Res. 2009 Mar;122(2):235-43. doi: 10.1007/s10265-008-0201-9. Epub 2008 Dec 16.


It is well known that endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) levels increase rapidly in response to drought stress and that this induces stomatal closure. In Arabidopsis thaliana, ABA levels increased rapidly in the leaves and roots when intact wild-type whole plants were exposed to drought stress. However, if the leaves and roots were separated and exposed to drought independently, the ABA level increased only in the leaves. These results suggest that, under our experimental conditions, ABA is synthesized mainly in the leaves in response to drought stress and that some of the ABA accumulated in the leaves is transported to the roots. Tracer experiments using isotope-labeled ABA indicate that the movement of ABA from leaves to roots is activated by water deficit in the roots. We also demonstrate that the endogenous ABA level in the leaves increased only when the leaves themselves were exposed to drought stress, suggesting that leaves play a major role in the production of ABA in response to acute water shortage.

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / biosynthesis*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Dioxygenases
  • Oxygenases / genetics
  • Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Water / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Water
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Oxygenases
  • Dioxygenases
  • 9-cis-epoxy-carotenoid dioxygenase