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  1. Summary

    A surge of papers have reported low leaf vulnerability to xylem embolism during drought. Here, we focus on the less studied, and more sensitive, outside‐xylem leaf hydraulic responses to multiple internal and external conditions. Studies of 34 species have resolved substantial vulnerability to dehydration of the outside‐xylem pathways, and studies of leaf hydraulic responses to light also implicate dynamic outside‐xylem responses. Detailed experiments suggest these dynamic responses arise at least in part from strong control of radial water movement across the vein bundle sheath. While leaf xylem vulnerability may influence leaf and plant survival during extreme drought, outside‐xylem dynamic responses are important for the control and resilience of water transport and leaf water status for gas exchange and growth.

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  2. Lawson, Tracy (Ed.)
    Abstract Drought decreases water transport capacity of leaves and limits gas exchange, which involves reduced leaf leaf hydraulic conductance (Kleaf) in both the xylem and outside-xylem pathways. Some literature suggests that grapevines are hyper-susceptible to drought-induced xylem embolism. We combined Kleaf and gas exchange measurements, micro-computed tomography of intact leaves, and spatially explicit modeling of the outside-xylem pathways to evaluate the role of vein embolism and Kleaf in the responses of two different grapevine cultivars to drought. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay exhibited similar vulnerabilities of Kleaf and gs to dehydration, decreasing substantially prior to leaf xylem embolism. Kleaf and gs decreased by 80% for both cultivars by Ψ leaf approximately –0.7 MPa and –1.2 MPa, respectively, while leaf xylem embolism initiated around Ψ leaf = –1.25 MPa in the midribs and little to no embolism was detected in minor veins even under severe dehydration for both cultivars. Modeling results indicated that reduced membrane permeability associated with a Casparian-like band in the leaf vein bundle sheath would explain declines in Kleaf of both cultivars. We conclude that during moderate water stress, changes in the outside-xylem pathways, rather than xylem embolism, are responsible for reduced Kleaf and gs. Understanding this mechanism could help to ensure adequate carbon capture and crop performance under drought. 
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