Do Aquaporins Affect Root Growth Rate? Evidence from Wild Type versus Antisense Arabidopsis thaliana
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Aquaporins are transmembrane proteins that act as channels to transfer water into and out of the cell; without the aid of aquaporins, water would cross the cell membrane solely by diffusion. They are found in many cell types, mostly in eukaryotic organisms. The question concerning the role of aquaporins is how an organism will change physiologically without several of these transmembrane proteins. Research into the regulation of water transport across plant cells was done using the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana , by comparing main root growth rates between wild type (C24 and Columbia) genotypes and antisense (PIP1 and PIP2) genotypes. The antisense genotypes were obtained by genetically modifying a wild type A. thaliana to suppress aquaporin expression. The main root for each genotype was measured daily from start of germination to maximum growth in nutrient supplemented agar in Petri dishes. Statistical analysis revealed that there existed a significant difference between wild type and anitisense A. thaliana . It appeared that the anitisense A.thaliana had a greater overall root growth rate to compensate for aquaporin deficiency.