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Plant Aquaporins: Diversity, Evolution and Biotechnological Applications

[ Vol. 20 , Issue. 4 ]

Author(s):

João P. Bezerra-Neto, Flávia Czekalski de Araújo, José R.C. Ferreira-Neto, Manassés D. da Silva, Valesca Pandolfi, Flavia F. Aburjaile, Tetsu Sakamoto, Roberta L. de Oliveira Silva, Ederson A. Kido, Lidiane L. Barbosa Amorim, José M. Ortega and Ana M. Benko-Iseppon*   Pages 368 - 395 ( 28 )

Abstract:


The plasma membrane forms a permeable barrier that separates the cytoplasm from the external environment, defining the physical and chemical limits in each cell in all organisms. The movement of molecules and ions into and out of cells is controlled by the plasma membrane as a critical process for cell stability and survival, maintaining essential differences between the composition of the extracellular fluid and the cytosol. In this process aquaporins (AQPs) figure as important actors, comprising highly conserved membrane proteins that carry water, glycerol and other hydrophilic molecules through biomembranes, including the cell wall and membranes of cytoplasmic organelles. While mammals have 15 types of AQPs described so far (displaying 18 paralogs), a single plant species can present more than 120 isoforms, providing transport of different types of solutes. Such aquaporins may be present in the whole plant or can be associated with different tissues or situations, including biotic and especially abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity or tolerance to soils rich in heavy metals, for instance. The present review addresses several aspects of plant aquaporins, from their structure, classification, and function, to in silico methodologies for their analysis and identification in transcriptomes and genomes. Aspects of evolution and diversification of AQPs (with a focus on plants) are approached for the first time with the aid of the LCA (Last Common Ancestor) analysis. Finally, the main practical applications involving the use of AQPs are discussed, including patents and future perspectives involving this important protein family.

Keywords:

Water channel, membrane intrinsic protein MIP, plasma membrane intrinsic protein PIP, tonoplast intrinsic protein TIP, Nodulin-like intrinsic protein NIP, small intrinsic protein, SIP, Ananas comosus

Affiliation:

Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Belo Horizonte, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Belo Horizonte, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Genetics Department, Center of Biosciences, Av. Prof. Moraes Rego, 1235, 50.670-423, Recife, Pernambuco

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