Aquaporins in Coffea arabica L.: Identification, expression, and impacts on plant water relations and hydraulics.

Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB / Societe francaise de physiologie vegetale

PubMedID: 26241904

Miniussi M, Del Terra L, Savi T, Pallavicini A, Nardini A. Aquaporins in Coffea arabica L.: Identification, expression, and impacts on plant water relations and hydraulics. Plant Physiol Biochem. 2015;9592-102.
Plant aquaporins (AQPs) are involved in the transport of water and other small solutes across cell membranes, and thus play major roles in the regulation of plant water balance, as well as in growth regulation and response to abiotic stress factors. Limited information is currently available about the presence and role of AQPs in Coffea arabica L. , despite the economic importance of the species and its vulnerability to drought stress. We identified candidate AQP genes by screening a proprietary C. arabica transcriptome database, resulting in the identification of nine putative aquaporins. A phylogenetic analysis based on previously characterized AQPs from Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum tuberosum allowed to assign the putative coffee AQP sequences to the Tonoplast (TIP) and Plasma membrane (PIP) subfamilies. The possible functional role of coffee AQPs was explored by measuring hydraulic conductance and aquaporin gene expression on leaf and root tissues of two-year-old plants (C. arabica cv. Pacamara) subjected to different experimental conditions. In a first experiment, we tested plants for root and leaf hydraulic conductance both before dawn and at mid-day, to check the eventual impact of light on AQP activity and plant hydraulics. In a second experiment, we measured plant hydraulic responses to different water stress levels as eventually affected by changes in AQPs expression levels. Our results shed light on the possible roles of AQPs in the regulation of C. arabica hydraulics and water balance, opening promising research lines to improve the sustainability of coffee cultivation under global climate change scenarios.