Abiotic stresses modulate expression of major intrinsic proteins in barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Ayalew Ligaba, Maki Katsuhara, Mineo Shibasaka, Gemechis Djira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In one of the most important crops, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), gene expression and physiological roles of most major intrinsic proteins (MIPs) remained to be elucidated. Here we studied expression of five tonoplast intrinsic protein isoforms (HvTIP1;2, HvTIP2;1, HvTIP2;2, HvTIP2;3 and HvTIP4;1), a NOD26-like intrinsic protein (HvNIP2;1) and a plasma membrane intrinsic protein (HvPIP2;1) by using the quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Five-day-old seedlings were exposed to abiotic stresses (salt, heavy metals and nutrient deficiency), abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellic acid (GA) for 24 h. Treatment with 100 mM NaCl, 0.1 mM ABA and 1 mM GA differentially regulated gene expression in roots and shoots. Nitrogen and prolonged P-deficiency downregulated expression of most MIP genes in roots. Intriguingly, gene expression was restored to the values in the control three days after nutrient supply was resumed. Heavy metals (0.2 mM each of Cd, Cu, Zn and Cr) downregulated the transcript levels by 60-80% in roots, whereas 0.2 mM Hg upregulated expressions of most genes in roots. This was accompanied by a 45% decrease in the rate of transpiration. In order to study the physiological role of the MIPs, cDNA of three genes (HvTIP2;1, HvTIP2;3 and HvNIP2;1) have been cloned and heterologous expression was performed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Osmotic water permeability was determined by a swelling assay. However, no water uptake activity was observed for the three proteins. Hence, the possible physiological role of the proteins is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalComptes Rendus - Biologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Abiotic stresses
  • Differential expression
  • Hordeum vulgare
  • MIPs
  • Transpiration
  • Xenopus laevis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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