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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 2;279(1):207-15. Epub 2003 Oct 21.

Regulation of vacuolar Na+/H+ exchange in Arabidopsis thaliana by the salt-overly-sensitive (SOS) pathway.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.


For plants growing in highly saline environments, accumulation of sodium in the cell cytoplasm leads to disruption of metabolic processes and reduced growth. Maintaining low levels of cytoplasmic sodium requires the coordinate regulation of transport proteins on numerous cellular membranes. Our previous studies have linked components of the Salt-Overly-Sensitive pathway (SOS1-3) to salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana and demonstrated that the activity of the plasma membrane Na+/H+ exchanger (SOS1) is regulated by SOS2 (a protein kinase) and SOS3 (a calcium-binding protein). Current studies were undertaken to determine if the Na+/H+ exchanger in the vacuolar membrane (tonoplast) of Arabidopsis is also a target for the SOS regulatory pathway. Characterization of tonoplast Na+/H+ exchange demonstrated that it represents activity originating from the AtNHX proteins since it could be inhibited by 5-(N-methyl-N-isobutyl)amiloride and by anti-NHX1 antibodies. Transport activity was selective for sodium (apparent Km=31 mm) and electroneutral (one sodium ion for each proton). When compared with tonoplast Na+/H+-exchange activity in wild type, activity was significantly higher, greatly reduced, and unchanged in sos1, sos2, and sos3, respectively. Activated SOS2 protein added in vitro increased tonoplast Na+/H+-exchange activity in vesicles isolated from sos2 but did not have any effect on activity in vesicles isolated from wild type, sos1, or sos3. These results demonstrate that (i) the tonoplast Na+/H+ exchanger in Arabidopsis is a target of the SOS regulatory pathway, (ii) there are branches to the SOS pathway, and (iii) there may be coordinate regulation of the exchangers in the tonoplast and plasma membrane.

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