We investigated how root hydraulic conductance (normalized to root dry weight, Lo ) is regulated by the shoot. Shoot topping (about 30% reduction in leaf area) reduced Lo of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.), soybean (Glycine max L.) and maize (Zea mays L.) by 50 to 60%. More detailed investigations with soybean and grapevine showed that the reduction in Lo was not correlated with the reduction in leaf area, and shading or cutting single leaves had a similar effect. Percentage reduction in Lo was largest when initial Lo was high in soybean. Inhibition of Lo by weak acid (low pH) was smaller after shoot damage or leaf shading. The half time of reduction in Lo was approximately 5 min after total shoot decapitation. These characteristics indicate involvement of aquaporins. We excluded phloem-borne signals and auxin-mediated signals. Xylem-mediated hydraulic signals are possible since turgor rapidly decreased within root cortex cells after shoot topping. There was a significant reduction in the expression of several aquaporins in the plasma membrane intrinsic protein (PIP) family of both grapevine and soybean. In soybean, there was a five- to 10-fold reduction in GmPIP1;6 expression over 0.5-1 h which was sustained over the period of reduced Lo .
Keywords: grapevine; maize; plasma membrane intrinsic protein; root hydraulic conductivity; soybean.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.