Aquaporins in plants

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Although very often exposed to a rapid changing environment, plants are in general unable to evade from unfavourable conditions. Therefore, a fine tuned adaptation of physiology including the water balance appears to be of crucial importance. As a consequence a relatively large number of aquaporin genes are present in plant genomes. So far aquaporins in plants were shown to be involved in root water uptake, reproduction or photosynthesis. Accordingly, plant aquaporin classification as simple water pores has changed corresponding to their molecular function into channels permeable for water, small solutes and/or gases. An adjustment of the respective physiological process could be achieved by regulation mechanisms, which range from post-translational modification, molecular trafficking to heteromerization of aquaporin isoforms. Here the function of the four plant aquaporin family subclasses with regard to substrate specificity, regulation and physiological relevance is described.

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