Early response in water relations influenced by NaCl reflects tolerance or sensitivity of barley plants to salinity stress via aquaporins
Barley varieties, K305 and I743, which are sodium chloride (NaCl) tolerant and sensitive respectively, were hydroponically grown to determine the short-term effects of NaCl on the cell water relations in roots using a cell pressure probe, and on the transcript levels of 10 barley PIP aquaporin genes (HvPIPs) in roots. Stomatal conductance, as an indicator of sensitivity to NaCl, was decreased to less than half values of control upon exposure to 100?mmol?L?1 NaCl for 24?h in I743 whereas tolerant variety, K305, was able to maintain original conductance. Osmotic half-times of water exchange in cortical cells allowed for a clear distinction between the two varieties up to 200?mmol?L?1 NaCl. With treatment duration of up to 12?h with 100?mmol?L?1 NaCl, the elastic modulus was reduced in I743 but increased in K305. Hydrostatic half-times of water exchange in K305 increased rapidly, whereas this value remained unchanged in I743. Application of abscisic acid (ABA) after 1?h NaCl treatment restored the hydraulic conductivity of cells (Lp) in K305 but not in I743 whereas the opposite results were obtained when mercury chloride (HgCl2) was applied, verifying the contrasting gating response of aquaporins in two varieties. Reduced expression of HvPIPs was consistent with the reduction of hydraulic conductivity of both varieties after 24?h NaCl, but without any significant differences between them, indicating the importance of the activities of existing aquaporins rather than de novo synthesis to cope with short-term effects of salt stress.