Closure of Stomata in Water-Stressed Pine Needles Results from the Decreased Water Potential of the Mesophyll Apoplast in the Substomatal Cavity
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Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings grown under controlled conditions were subjected to water deficit (external water potentials ranging from–0.15 to–1.5 MPa) by adding polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG) to the nutrient solution. Following this treatment, the dry weights of plant shoots and roots, as well as the ratio of variable to maximum chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm), nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) of chlorophyll excitations, photosynthetic CO2/H2O exchange, dark respiration of needles, and water potential of mesophyll apoplast in the substomatal cavity of pine needles, were measured. The imposed water deficit was followed by the inhibition of seedling growth, suppression of photosynthesis and transpiration, and by the decreased content of photosynthetic pigments. It is shown for the first time that the closure of stomata in the needles of water-stressed pine seedlings falls into the physiological reaction norm and is caused by the reduction of water potential in the mesophyll apoplast of the substomatal cavity.
KeywordsPinus sylvestris water deficit needles roots photosynthesis respiration stomatal closure mesophyll apoplast water potential
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