How do roots control xylem sap ABA concentration in response to soil drying?

Jiansheng Liang*, Jianhua ZHANG, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Maize (Zea mays L.) and Leucaena leucocephala (a tropical tree) were subjected to different degrees of soil drying and changes in their root and xylem ABA concentrations were measured simultaneously. Additional treatments such as defoliation, light sheltering and stem girdling were applied so that phloem transport into roots was manipulated. When soil was dried, ABA concentration in xylem sap increased almost linearly with that of roots in both species. Such an increase was relatively plateaued at high root ABA concentrations, suggesting that severe soil drying might have hindered some parts of roots from delivering ABA into xylem flow. When 3H-ABA was loaded into roots and monitored for its disappearance, it was found that the capability of roots to catabolize ABA was much lower than that reported for leaves, with a half-life of 1.15 h and a considerable amount (46%) of fed 3H-ABA was remained unmodified during 21 h of incubation. Previous soil drying significantly reduced such a capability of catabolism and extended the half-life of fed 3H-ABA to 2.27 h, and the amount remaining unmodified was elevated to 50.7%. Defoliation and light-sheltering treatments significantly reduced xylem ABA concentration of waterstressed plants. Using stem girdling approach, it was estimated that about 25 to 30% of ABA in the xylem sap might come from shoot through phloem under soil drying condition. It was concluded that in addition to an enhanced ABA biosynthesis in roots during soil drying, a slowed ABA catabolism in roots and an increased import from shoots were also important contributions to the sensitive changes of xylem ABA concentration in response to such a stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • ABA
  • Leucaena leucocephala
  • Root
  • Soil drying
  • Xylem sap
  • Zea mays


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