Received: 10 Aug 2017 Revised: 15 Dec 2017 Accepted: 11 Jan 2018 Published online: 01 Apr 2018
The newly identified aquaporin coding sequences presented here pave the way for further insights into the plant–water relations in the commercial strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). Aquaporins are water channel proteins that allow water to cross (intra)cellular membranes. In Fragaria x ananassa, few of them have been identified hitherto, hampering the exploration of the water transport regulation at cellular level. Here, we present new aquaporin coding sequences belonging to different subclasses: plasma membrane intrinsic proteins subtype 1 and subtype 2 (PIP1 and PIP2) and tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIP). The classification is based on phylogenetic analysis and is confirmed by the presence of conserved residues. Substrate-specific signature sequences (SSSSs) and specificity-determining positions (SDPs) predict the substrate specificity of each new aquaporin. Expression profiling in leaves, petioles and developing fruits reveals distinct patterns, even within the same (sub)class. Expression profiles range from leaf-specific expression over constitutive expression to fruit-specific expression. Both upregulation and downregulation during fruit ripening occur. Substrate specificity and expression profiles suggest that functional specialization exists among aquaporins belonging to a different but also to the same (sub)class.