Effect of leaf water status and xylem pH on metabolism of xylem-transported abscisic acid

Jianhua ZHANG*, Wensuo Jia, Da Peng Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolism and distribution of xylem-fed ABA were investigated in leaves of maize (Zea mays) and Commelina communis when water stress and xylem pH manipulation were applied. 3H-ABA was fed to excised leaves via the transpiration stream. Water stress was applied through either a previous soil-drying before leaves were excised, or a quick dehydration after leaves were fed with ABA. Xylem-delivered ABA was metabolised rapidly in the leaves (half-life 0.7 h and 1.02 h for maize and Commelina respectively), but a previous soil-drying or a post-feeding dehydration significantly extended the half-life of fed ABA in both species. In the first few hours after ABA was fed into the detached leaves, percentages of applied ABA remaining unmodified were always higher in leaves which received water stress treatments than in control leaves. However the percentage decreased to below the control levels several hours later in leaves which received a previous soil-drying treatment prior to excision, but had then been rehydrated by the xylem-feeding process itself. One possible explanation for this could be a changed pattern of compartmentalisation for xylem-carried ABA. A post-feeding dehydration treatment also changed the distribution of xylem-fed ABA within the leaves: more ABA was found in the epidermis of Commelina leaves which had been dehydrated rapidly after ABA had been fed, compared to the controls. The levels of xylem-delivered ABA remaining unmodified increased as the pH of the feeding solution increased from 5 to 8. The results support the hypothesis that water stress and a putative stress-induced xylem pH change may modify stomatal sensitivity to ABA by changing the actual ABA content of the leaf epidermis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Growth Regulation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • ABA metabolism
  • abscisic acid (ABA)
  • Commelina
  • leaf water status
  • maize


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