Biotech Updates

Scientists Identify Molecular Transporters that Drive Plant Responses to Drought and Salinity

April 30, 2014

Yuriko Osakabe and colleagues from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science have studied several newly identified molecules involved in the transport of the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) in plants.

Production of ABA is an essential component of plant response to drought and salinity. Previously thought to be a long-distance messenger of stress, studies now suggest that ABA is produced in the veins of the leaves themselves, where it acts on nearby stomata. Specialized ‘guard' cells, which close and open the stomata, are also able to produce ABA. The team also found that ABA causes the production of reactive oxygen species that act as ‘secondary messengers', regulating the flux of ions, and in turn the electrical polarization of the cell membrane, turgor pressure, and guard-cell closure.

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