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Plant Physiol. 2000 Mar;122(3):823-34.

A weakly voltage-dependent, nonselective cation channel mediates toxic sodium influx in wheat.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA, United Kingdom.


To determine the transporters responsible for toxic Na(+) influx in wheat (Triticum aestivum), root plasma membrane preparations were screened using the planar lipid bilayer technique as an assay for Na(+)-permeable ion channel activity. The predominant channel in the bilayer was a 44-pS channel that we called the nonselective cation (NSC) channel, which was nonselective for monovalent cations and weakly voltage dependent. Single channel characteristics of the NSC channel were compared with (22)Na(+) influx into excised root segments. Na(+) influx through the NSC channel resembled (22)Na(+) influx in its partial sensitivity to inhibition by Ca(2+), Mg(2+), and Gd(3+), and its insensitivity to all other inhibitors tested (tetraethylammonium, quinine, Cs(+), tetrodotoxin, verapamil, amiloride, and flufenamate). Na(+) influx through the NSC channel also closely resembled an instantaneous current in wheat root protoplasts (S.D. Tyerman, M. Skerrett, A. Garill, G.P. Findlay, R. Leigh [1997] J Exp Bot 48: 459-480) in its permeability sequence, selectivity for K(+) over Na(+) (approximately 1.25), insensitivity to tetraethylammonium, voltage independence, and partial sensitivity to Ca(2+). Comparison of tissue, protoplast (S.D. Tyerman, M. Skerrett, A. Garill, G.P. Findlay, R. Leigh [1997] J Exp Bot 48: 459-480), and single- channel data indicate that toxic Na(+) influx is catalyzed by a single transporter, and this is likely to be the NSC channel identified in planar lipid bilayers.

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