The plasma membrane is covered by the lipid layer and this membrane restricts the entry of molecules into the cell. The lipid-soluble molecule can easily pass through the membrane due to its lipid nature whereas water and water-soluble fails to pass through this membrane. The transport of these substances is either by transporter or channels found on the membrane. Water is essential for all the cell to carry out their metabolic process. It also maintains the cell structure and mechanical support to the cell. It maintains the osmotic pressure within the cell. In plants, entry, and exit of water from the cell is highly regulated. The exit of water from the cell is inhibited during drought or hot summer season. The expression of aquaporin is regulated by the plant hormones namely cytokinin, abscisic acid, and gibberellins. Tonicity of the cell refers to the level of solutes between the extracellular and intracellular environment and based on this tonicity, the cell may shrink or swell. The tonicity of the cell is mainly maintained by the water level. In an isotonic condition, the concentration of the substance in the intracellular and extracellular was the same and at this level, there is no flow of water into the cell. When the cell is placed in a hypotonic solution, the level of water in the extracellular region is high than inside the cell. Thus, water starts entering into the cell and this causes the cell to increase in volume and the cell bursts. In the case of the plant cells, the cell wall prevents the cell from lysis due to the generation of turgor pressure. When the cell is in a hypertonic medium, water starts moving to the low concentration region and exits the cell. This makes the cell shrink and causes plasmolysis. This clearly explains that the level of water plays a key role in maintaining cell volume.
Aquaporins (Water Channels)
Aquaporin is water channels that are found on the cell membrane, which allows the transport of water specifically into the cell. The different isoform of this protein is available in different parts of the body. Four proteins polymerize to form a tetramer, which is the pore on the cell surface through which water enters into the cell.
Aquaporin 0 is prevalent in the lens and it maintains the osmolality in the lens.
Aquaporin 1 is found in the proximal convoluted tubule, Loop of Henle in the kidney, alveolar epithelial cells, and red blood cells. In the kidney, it helps to maintain the concentration of urine. In the lungs, these aquaporins involve in hydration regulation.
Aquaporin 2 is available in the apical membrane of the nephron and it reabsorbs water in response to the anti-diuretic hormone.
Aquaporin 3 is in the collecting duct and tracheal epithelial cells.
Aquaporin 4 is found In the brain ependymal cell and involves in maintaining the fluid balance in the CSF fluid.
Aquaporin 5 is prevalent in the lacrimal and salivary glands, whose main role in the secretion of tears and saliva.
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