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Plant Cell. 1997 Dec;9(12):2281-9.

The HAK1 gene of barley is a member of a large gene family and encodes a high-affinity potassium transporter.

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  • 1Departamento de Biotecnología, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Madrid, Spain.


The high-affinity K+ uptake system of plants plays a crucial role in nutrition and has been the subject of extensive kinetic studies. However, major components of this system remain to be identified. We isolated a cDNA from barley roots, HvHAK1, whose translated sequence shows homology to the Escherichia coli Kup and Schwanniomyces occidentalis HAK1 K+ transporters. HvHAK1 conferred high-affinity K+ uptake to a K(+)-uptake-deficient yeast mutant exhibiting the hallmark characteristics of the high-affinity K+ uptake described for barley roots. HvHAK1 also mediated low-affinity Na+ uptake. Another cDNA (HvHAK2) encoding a polypeptide 42% identical to HvHAK1 was also isolated. Analysis of several genomes of Triticeae indicates that HvHAK1 belongs to a multigene family. Translated sequences from bacterial DNAs and Arabidopsis, rice, and possibly human cDNAs show homology to the Kup-HAK1-HvHAK1 family of K+ transporters.

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