Aspen Bibliography

Hydraulic adjustments in aspen (Populus tremuloides) seedlings following defoliation involve root and leaf aquaporins.

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Changes in root and leaf hydraulic properties and stimulation of transpiration rates that were initially triggered by defoliation were accompanied by corresponding changes in leaf and root aquaporin expression. Aspen (Populus tremuloides) seedlings were subjected to defoliation treatments by removing 50, 75 % or all of the leaves. Root hydraulic conductivity (Lpr) was sharply reduced in plants defoliated for 1 day and 1 week. The decrease in L pr could not be prevented by stem girdling and it was accompanied in one-day-defoliated plants by a large decrease in the root expression of PIP1,2 aquaporin and an over twofold decrease in hydraulic conductivity of root cortical cells (L pc). Contrary to L pr and L pc, 50 and 75 % defoliation treatments profoundly increased leaf lamina conductance (K lam) after 1 day and this increase was similar in magnitude for both defoliation treatments. Transpiration rates (E) rapidly declined after the removal of 75 % of leaves. However, E increased by over twofold in defoliated plants after 1 day and the increases in E and K lam were accompanied by five- and tenfold increases in the leaf expression of PIP2;4 in 50 and 75 % defoliation treatments, respectively. Defoliation treatments also stimulated net photosynthesis after 1 day and 3 weeks, although the increase was not as high as E. Leaf water potentials remained relatively stable following defoliation with the exception of a small decrease 1 day after defoliation which suggests that root water transport did not initially keep pace with the increased transpirational water loss. The results demonstrate the importance of root and leaf hydraulic properties in plant responses to defoliation and point to the involvement of PIP aquaporins in the early events following the loss of leaves.