Water and solute permeabilities of Arabidopsis roots in relation to the amount and composition of aliphatic suberin

Kosala Ranathunge, Lukas Schreiber

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109 Citations (Scopus)


Although it is implied that suberized apoplastic barriers of roots negatively correlate with water and solute permeabilities, direct transport measurements across roots with altered amounts and compositions of aliphatic suberin are scarce. In the present study, hydroponically grown Arabidopsis wild types (Col8 and Col0) and different suberin mutants with altered amounts and/or compositions (horst, esb1-1, and esb1-2) were used to test this hypothesis. Detailed histochemical studies revealed late development of Casparian bands and suberin lamellae in the horst mutant compared with wild types and esb mutants. Suberin analysis with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) showed that the horst mutant had ∼33% lower amounts of aliphatic monomers than Col8 and Col0. In contrast, enhanced suberin mutants (esb1-1 and esb1-2) had twice the amount of suberin as the wild types. Correlative permeability measurements, which were carried out for the first time with a root pressure probe for Arabidopsis, revealed that the hydraulic conductivity (Lpr) and NaCl permeability (Psr) of the whole root system of the horst mutant were markedly greater than in the respective wild types. This was reflected by the total amounts of aliphatic suberin determined in the roots. However, increased levels of aliphatic suberin in esb mutants failed to reduce either water or NaCl permeabilities below those of the wild types. It was concluded that the simple view and the conventional assumption that the amount of root suberin negatively correlates with permeability may not always be true. The aliphatic monomer arrangement in the suberin biopolymer and its microstructure also play a role in apoplastic barrier formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1961-1974
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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