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Different abscisic acid-deficient mutants show unique morphological and hydraulic responses to high air humidity

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Physiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)1795-1807
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date6/05/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


High relative humidity (RH) perturbs plant growth, stomatal functioning and abscisic acid (ABA) homeostasis, but the role of ABA in this physiological regulation is equivocal. To determine the role(s) of ABA in plant responses to high RH, wild-type (WT) tomato and barley plants and their respective ABA-deficient mutants flacca and Az34 (which are mutated in the same locus of the ABA biosynthesis pathway) were grown in contrasting RHs (60% and 90%) to measure biomass partitioning, stomatal traits and water relations. Surprisingly, growth RH did not affect foliar ABA levels in either species. While Az34 showed similar stomatal size and density as WT plants, flacca had larger and more abundant stomata. High RH increased stomatal size in tomato, but decreased it in barley, and decreased stomatal density in tomato, but not in barley. Altered stomatal responses in ABA-deficient plants to high RH had little effect on tomato photosynthesis, but Az34 barley showed lower photosynthesis. ABA deficiency decreased relative shoot growth rate (RGRSHOOT) in both species, yet this was counteracted by high RH increasing leaf water status in tomato, but not in barley. High RH increased RGRSHOOT in flacca, but not in WT tomatoes, while having no effect on RGRSHOOT in barley, but affecting barley net assimilation rate, leaf area ratio (LAR) and specific leaf area in an ABA-dependent manner. ABA-RH interaction affected leaf development in tomato only. Thus, different crop species show variable responses to both high RH and ABA deficiency, making it difficult to generalise on the role of ABA in growth regulation at contrasting RHs. © 2021 The Authors. Physiologia Plantarum published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society.