To identify loci in Arabidopsis involved in the control of transpirational water loss and transpiration efficiency (TE) we carried out an infrared thermal imaging-based screen. We report the identification of a new allele of the Arabidopsis CesA7 cellulose synthase locus designated AtCesA7(irx3-5) involved in the control of TE. Leaves of the AtCesA7(irx3-5) mutant are warmer than the wild type (WT). This is due to reduced stomatal pore widths brought about by guard cells that are significantly smaller than the WT. The xylem of the AtCesA7(irx3-5) mutant is also partially collapsed, and we suggest that the small guard cells in the mutant result from decreased water supply to the developing leaf. We used carbon isotope discrimination to show that TE is increased in AtCesA7(irx3-5) when compared with the WT. Our work identifies a new class of genes that affects TE and raises the possibility that other genes involved in cell wall biosynthesis will have an impact on water use efficiency.
© 2010 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.