Understanding aquaporin transport system in highly stress-tolerant and medicinal plant species Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.)

Nirbhay Kumar, Surbhi Kumawat, Praveen Khatri, Pankaj Singla, Gitanjali Tandon, Vacha Bhatt, Suhas Shinde, Gunvant B. Patil, Humira Sonah, Rupesh Deshmukh

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3 Scopus citations


Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.), a deciduous tree, is well known for its medicinal and nutritional values. Being an extremophile, it has an excellent capability to survive under arid conditions with limited water availability. In this regard, studying the role of water transport regulating proteins such as Aquaporins (AQPs) in jujube is of great importance. Aquaporins, channel-forming proteins are known to have a significant role in the transport of water and many other small solutes in plants. In the present study, computational approaches have identified 36 AQPs, which comprised of 12 NIPs (Nodulin 26-like intrinsic proteins), 10 PIPs (Plasma membrane intrinsic proteins), 10 TIPs (Tonoplast intrinsic proteins), 3 SIPs (Small intrinsic proteins), and 1 XIP (uncharacterized intrinsic protein). Conserved features of AQPs like asparagines-proline-alanine (NPA) amino acid motifs, aromatic/arginine (ar/R) selectivity filters, and Frogger's residues, having a significant role in solute specificity and transport, were also predicted. Homology-based tertiary (3D) structures of AQPS were also resolved using various tools, and subsequently, pore-lining residues have been identified using the 3D structures. The information of pore morphology, along with the conserved features provided through this work, will be helpful to predict solute specificity of AQPs. Analysis of transcriptomic data revealed the tissue-specific or ubiquitous expression of several AQPs in different tissues of jujube. Interestingly, TIP3−1 was found to have fruit specific expression whereas most of the AQPs have a relatively low expression. Based on the present study and previous reports, TIP3s seems to have a significant role in seed desiccation processes. The findings presented here provide pivotal insights into the functions of extremophile specific AQPs, to better understand the role of AQPs and, subsequently, the stress tolerance mechanism in jujube.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
StatePublished - Dec 20 2020


  • Aquaporin proteins
  • Gene expression
  • Gene family evolution
  • Jujube
  • Solute specificity
  • Tertiary structure


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