Re-export and metabolism of xylem-delivered ABA in attached maize leaves under different transpirational xylem ABA concentrations

Jianhua Zhang*, Wensuo Jia, Da-peng Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


By feeding radioactive 3H-ABA into attached maize leaves, the re-export and metabolism of xylem-delivered ABA and their relationships with xylem ABA transpirational fluxes and concentrations were investigated. ABA entering leaves in the transpirational stream was re-exported out of leaves slowly. Within 24 h the proportion of fed radioactivity that was re-exported was less than 45%. When different concentrations of 3H-ABA (100 nM versus 500 nM) was fed, no difference between the two concentrations was found in their rates of re-export of the fed radio-activity during the first 5 h. After 5 h, very little fed radioactivity was re-exported in leaves that were fed with 100 nM 3H-ABA, while leaves that were fed with 500 nM 3H-ABA continued to re-export such that the final proportion remaining in leaves after 24 h was less as a result, suggesting a concentration-stimulated re-export. When 3H-ABA was fed at two different transpiration rates which were induced by different air humidity, a 4-fold difference in transpirational fluxes did not produce any difference in terms of re-exportation of fed radioactivity. The rate of catabolism of xylem-fed 3H-ABA in the attached leaves was much faster than that of re-export. On average fed 3H-ABA had a half-life of 2.2 h and only 8% remained unmodified after 24 h of incubation, suggesting that re-exported radioactivity might not be the intact form of ABA at all. Using the parameters obtained from the feeding experiment, we calculated that in a real soil-drying situation the possible maximum amount of xylem-delivered ABA that could accumulate in leaves during a day. It was found that the proportion of daily accumulated ABA was only 5% of the leaf ABA in well-watered plants. In soil-dried plants the maximum amount of daily accumulation by xylem ABA could reach 20% of the leaf ABA at the beginning of soil drying, but it soon declined to about 5% again. The declined contribution was mainly due to a reduced transpiration and an increased total leaf ABA as a result of aggravated leaf water deficit. A tight relationship between leaf conductance and the accumulation of xylem-delivered ABA was not found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1564
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number313
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abscisic acid
  • ABA
  • ABA export
  • ABA metabolism
  • xylem-delivered ABA
  • maize


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