Answer to Question #115789 in Cell Biology for Kiana

Question #115789
In a vegetable section of a particular supermarket, Aling Nena noticed that every 10 minutes the fresh produce were sprinkled with water by a sales clerk. Can you explain the concept of tonicity in this situation? What is the importance of the discovery of aquaporin in humans?
Expert's answer

Spraying water over green leafy vegetables and fruits keeps them hydrated and prevents them from drying out. According to the concept of tonicity, water is hypotonic to the plant cells. Water has fewer solutes and a higher concentration of water than the inside of the plant cells. Water will diffuse into the vegetables and keep them plump and allow them to keep their look of freshness. Water movement occurs through the membrane lipid bilayer and through membrane channels called aquaporins.

Aquaporin water channels are regulators of transcellular water flow. Consistent with their expression in most human tissues, aquaporins are associated with diverse physiological and pathophysiological processes. Aquaporins are involved in mechanisms of cell volume regulation. The study of the mechanisms of human aquaporin regulation that mediate transcellular water flow is still in its infancy. Discovery of aquaporins in humans improved our understanding of the human body in health and disease. The central role of specific aquaporins in regulating water homeostasis will provide routes to a range of novel therapies.

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