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Plant Physiol. 1988 Dec;88(4):1279-84.

Sodium and potassium compartmentation and transport in the roots of intact lettuce plants.

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  • 1University of Illinois, Department of Plant Biology, Urbana, Illinois 61801.


In this report, we consider the accumulation in roots, and transport to the shoot, of Na(+) and K(+) in intact lettuce plants (Lactuca sativa cv Black-seeded Simpson). Plants were grown in modified Hoagland medium supplemented with 10 moles NaCl per cubic meter. At this salinity, significant levels of Na(+) were accumulated in roots and shoots, but there was no reduction in plant growth. Transport characteristics for both Na(+) and K(+) were qualitatively similar to those previously reported, for Spergularia marina, indicating that the results obtained with these experimental protocols are not limited to one unconventional experimental plant. The most pronounced difference in transport of the two ions was evident when transport was followed in a chase period after a 10 minute uptake pulse. For Na(+), there was an initially rapid, but small, loss of label to the medium, and very little movement to the shoot. For K(+), little label was lost from the plants, but translocation to the shoot proceeded for at least 60 minutes. The transport systems were further distinguished by treating the roots during labeling with 20 micrograms per milliliter cycloheximide. For K(+), both uptake and translocation were reduced by about 50%. For Na(+), root accumulation was stimulated more than five-fold, while transport to the shoot was reduced about 20%. Cycloheximide also modified the Na(+) transport characteristics such that continued translocation occurred during the chase period of pulse-chase studies.

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