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Plant Physiol. 1987 Aug;84(4):1416-20.

Potassium influx into maize root systems : influence of root potassium concentration and ambient ammonium.

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  • 1Department of Soil Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7619.


Potassium influx into roots of dark-grown decapitated maize seedling (Zea mays L., cv Pioneer 3369A) was examined in presence and absence of ambient ammonium and at various root potassium concentrations. Six-day old seedlings which were dependent on the endosperm reserves for their energy source were exposed to KCl (labeled with (86)Rb) ranging from 5 to 200 micromolar. At both low (13 micromoles per gram fresh weight) and high (100 micromoles per gram fresh weight) root potassium concentration, isotherms indicated two potassium influx systems, one approaching saturation at 50 to 100 micromolar potassium and an additional one tentatively considered to be linear. A mixed-type inhibition by ammonium for the low-concentration saturable system was indicated by a concomitant decrease in V(max) and increase in K(m). High root potassium concentration decreased V(max) but had little effect on K(m) of this system. The rate constant for the second quasilinear system was decreased by ambient ammonium and by high root potassium status. Transfer of high potassium roots to potassium-free solutions resulted in an increase in influx within 2 hours; by 24 hours influx significantly exceeded that of roots not previously exposed to potassium. In roots of both low and high root potassium concentrations, potassium influx was restricted progressively as ambient ammonium increased to about 100 micromolar, but there was little further inhibition as ammonium concentrations increased beyond that to 500 micromolar. The data imply that potassium influx has two components, one subject to inhibition by ambient ammonium and one relatively resistant.

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