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Plant Physiol. 1999 Nov;121(3):977-986.

Magnesium Sensitizes Slow Vacuolar Channels to Physiological Cytosolic Calcium and Inhibits Fast Vacuolar Channels in Fava Bean Guard Cell Vacuoles.

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Department of Biology and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0116.


Vacuolar ion channels in guard cells play important roles during stomatal movement and are regulated by many factors including Ca(2+), calmodulin, protein kinases, and phosphatases. We report that physiological cytosolic and luminal Mg(2+) levels strongly regulate vacuolar ion channels in fava bean (Vicia faba) guard cells. Luminal Mg(2+) inhibited fast vacuolar (FV) currents with a K(i) of approximately 0.23 mM in a voltage-dependent manner at positive potentials on the cytoplasmic side. Cytosolic Mg(2+) at 1 mM also inhibited FV currents. Furthermore, in the absence of cytosolic Mg(2+), cytosolic Ca(2+) at less than 10 µM did not activate slow vacuolar (SV) currents. However, when cytosolic Mg(2+) was present, submicromolar concentrations of cytosolic Ca(2+) activated SV currents with a K(d) of approximately 227 nM, suggesting a synergistic Mg(2+)-Ca(2+) effect. The activation potential of SV currents was shifted toward physiological potentials in the presence of cytosolic Mg(2+) concentrations. The direction of SV currents could also be changed from outward to both outward and inward currents. Our data predict a model for SV channel regulation, including a cytosolic binding site for Ca(2+) with an affinity in the submicromolar range and a cytosolic low-affinity Mg(2+)-Ca(2+) binding site. SV channels are predicted to contain a third binding site on the vacuolar luminal side, which binds Ca(2+) and is inhibitory. In conclusion, cytosolic Mg(2+) sensitizes SV channels to physiological cytosolic Ca(2+) elevations. Furthermore, we propose that cytosolic and vacuolar Mg(2+) concentrations ensure that FV channels do not function as a continuous vacuolar K(+) leak, which would prohibit stomatal opening.


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