On the path from xylem hydraulic failure to downstream cell death - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles New Phytologist Year : 2023

On the path from xylem hydraulic failure to downstream cell death


Xylem hydraulic failure (HF) has been identified as a ubiquitous factor in triggering drought-induced tree mortality through the damage induced by the progressive dehydration of plant living cells. However, fundamental evidence of the mechanistic link connecting xylem HF to cell death has not been identified yet. The main aim of this study was to evaluate, at the leaf level, the relationship between loss of hydraulic function due to cavitation and cell death under drought conditions and discern how this relationship varied across species with contrasting resistances to cavitation. Drought was induced by withholding water from potted seedlings, and their leaves were sampled to measure their relative water content (RWC) and cell mortality. Vulnerability curves to cavitation at the leaf level were constructed for each species. An increment in cavitation events occurrence precedes the onset of cell mortality. A variation in cells tolerance to dehydration was observed along with the resistance to cavitation. Overall, our results indicate that the onset of cellular mortality occurs at lower RWC than the one for cavitation indicating the role of cavitation in triggering cellular death. They also evidenced a critical RWC for cellular death varying across species with different cavitation resistance.

Dates and versions

hal-04163312 , version 1 (17-07-2023)



Marylou Mantova, Hervé Cochard, Régis Burlett, Sylvain Delzon, Andrew King, et al.. On the path from xylem hydraulic failure to downstream cell death. New Phytologist, 2023, 237 (3), pp.793-806. ⟨10.1111/nph.18578⟩. ⟨hal-04163312⟩
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