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Plant Physiol. 1994 Sep;106(1):383-391.

Anion Selectivity of Slow Anion Channels in the Plasma Membrane of Guard Cells (Large Nitrate Permeability).

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


Closing of stomatal pores in the leaf epidermis of higher plants is mediated by long-term release of potassium and the anions chloride and malate from guard cells and by parallel metabolism of malate. Previous studies have shown that slowly activating anion channels in the plasma membrane of guard cells can provide a major pathway for anion efflux while also controlling K+ efflux during stomatal closing: Anion efflux produces depolarization of the guard cell plasma membrane that drives K+ efflux required for stomatal closing. The patch-clamp technique was applied to Vicia faba guard cells to determine the permeability of physiologically significant anions and halides through slow anion channels to assess the contribution of these anion channels to anion efflux during stomatal closing. Permeability ratio measurements showed that all tested anions were permeable with the selectivity sequence relative to Cl- of NO3- > Br- > F- ~ Cl- ~ I- > malate. Large malate concentrations in the cytosol (150 mM) produced a slow down-regulation of slow anion channel currents. Single anion channel currents were recorded that correlated with whole-cell anion currents. Single slow anion channels confirmed the large permeability ratio for nitrate over chloride ions. Furthermore, single-channel studies support previous indications of multiple conductance states of slow anion channels, suggesting cooperativity among anion channels. Anion conductances showed that slow anion channels can mediate physiological rates of Cl- and initial malate efflux required for mediation of stomatal closure. The large NO3- permeability as well as the significant permeabilities of all anions tested indicates that slow anion channels do not discriminate strongly among anions. Furthermore, these data suggest that slow anion channels can provide an efficient pathway for efflux of physiologically important anions from guard cells and possibly also from other higher plant cells that express slow anion channels.


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