"Aquaporins" Team

Principal investigator: Christophe Maurel
Research Director CNRS
Tel: 04 99 61 20 11
Mail: christophe.maurel@cnrs.fr

2017-04-26 - PhD Projects:
- Multiscale dissection of root hydraulics - Supervisor : Dr Yann Boursiac
- Plant cell early signalling in response to osmotic stress- Supervisor :
Dr Alexandre Martinière


Plants have to constantly adjust their water status during development and in response to sometimes very challenging environmental conditions. Research in the Aquaporin group aims at understanding the various modes and regulations of water transport in plant tissues. The ultimate goal is to understand how these processes are linked to general growth and abiotic stress responses. Aquaporins, water channel proteins that facilitate the transport of water across plant cell membranes, are central in these processes. The multiple molecular and cellular facets of their regulation are investigated, as a general molecular entry into plant water relations.

The group uses Arabidopsis thaliana as a main plant model, with punctual studies in the rice root. It combines molecular, physiological and genetic approaches and characterizes water transport at the level of cloned aquaporins, purified membranes, living cells or organs like excised roots or rosettes. In addition, aquaporin regulation is investigated by sub-cellular localisation studies using super-resolution fluorescence microscopic techniques and by proteomic approaches, to access the variety of aquaporin post-translational modifications. Classical reverse genetics and analysis of natural variation are combined to genetically dissect aquaporin functions.

In recent years, the Aquaporin team has revealed novel functions and regulations of plant aquaporins. The dynamics of PIP aquaporins at the root cell surface and their constitutive cycling was found be enhanced under salt and oxidative stresses, in relation to inhibition of root water transport. The phosphorylation of a single aquaporin isoform was shown to be central to light-dependent activation of water transport in leaf veins or during abscisic acid-induced stomatal closure. Also, auxin was found to regulate aquaporins in roots, thereby providing a fine spatial and temporal regulation of cellular water flows to facilitate the emergence of lateral roots.

Although identified by focused key words (aquaporins, water transport), the Aquaporin group keeps diversifying its approaches and integration levels. Protein kinases involved in water transport regulation are used to explore fundamental properties of plant cell signaling pathways. Quantitative genetics, root phenotyping and mathematical modeling are combined to address the dynamics of growth and hydraulics in roots, showing how these adapt to environmental constraints and water stress in particular.

 Significant publications 

Grondin A, O Rodrigues, L Verdoucq, S Merlot, N Leonhardt, C Maurel (2015)Aquaporins contribute to ABA-triggered stomatal closure through OST1-mediated phosphorylation. Plant Cell, 27: 1945-1954.

Maurel C, Y Boursiac, D-T Luu, V Santoni, Z Shahzad, L Verdoucq (2015) Aquaporins in plants. Physiol. Rev., 95: 1321-1358.

Wudick MM, X Li, V Valentini, N Geldner, J Chory, J Lin, C Maurel, D-T Luu (2015) Sub-cellular pathway and role of hydrogen peroxide-induced redistribution of root aquaporins. Mol. Plant, 8: 1103-1114.

Wudick MM, DT Luu, C Tournaire-Roux, W Sakamoto, C Maurel (2014) Vegetative and sperm cell-specific aquaporins of Arabidopsis thaliana highlight the vacuolar equipment of pollen and contribute to plant reproduction. Plant Physiol., 164: 1697-1706.

Prado K, Y Boursiac, C Tournaire-Roux, J-M Monneuse, O Postaire, O Da Ines, AR. Schäffner, S Hem, V Santoni, C Maurel (2013) Regulation of Arabidopsis leaf hydraulics involves light-dependent phosphorylation of aquaporins in veins. Plant Cell, 25: 1029-1039.

Di Pietro M, J Vialaret, G Li, S Hem, M Rossignol, C Maurel, V Santoni (2013) Coordinated post-translational responses of aquaporins to abiotic and nutritional stimuli in Arabidopsis roots. Mol. Cell. Proteomics, 12: 3886–3897.

Péret B, G Li, J Zhao, LR Band, U Voß, O Postaire, D Luu, O Da Ines, I Casimiro, M Lucas, DM Wells, L Lazzerini, P Nacry, JR King, OE Jensen, AR Schäffner*, C Maurel*, MJ Bennett* (2012) Auxin regulates aquaporin function to facilitate lateral root emergence. Nature Cell Biol., 14: 991-998 (*, corresponding authors).

Luu DT, A Martinière, M Sorieul, J Runions, C Maurel (2012) Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching reveals high cycling dynamics of plasma membrane aquaporins in Arabidopsis roots under salt stress. Plant J., 69: 894–905.

Sutka M, G Li, J Boudet, Y Boursiac, P Doumas, C Maurel (2011) Natural variation of root hydraulics in Arabidopsis grown in normal and salt stress conditions. Plant Physiol., 155:1264-1276.

More publications >>


Permanent staff
Véronique Santoni
Lionel Verdoucq
Philippe Nacry

Yann Boursiac

Alexandre Martiniere
Colette Tournaire
Graduate students and postdocs
Monica Calvo
Miguel Angel Rosales Villegas
Chloé Champeyroux Graduate student Thi Thu Huyen Chu
Graduate student
Marina Bellanger
Graduate student
Marija Smokvarska
Graduate student