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Nature. 2003 Sep 11;425(6954):196-200.

A cell surface receptor mediates extracellular Ca(2+) sensing in guard cells.

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Department of Biology, Developmental, Cell, and Molecular Biology Group, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.


Extracellular Ca(2+) (Ca(2+)(o)) is required for various physiological and developmental processes in animals and plants. In response to varied Ca(2+)(o) levels, plants maintain relatively constant internal Ca(2+) content, suggesting a precise regulatory mechanism for Ca(2+) homeostasis. However, little is known about how plants monitor Ca(2+)(o) status and whether Ca(2+)(o)-sensing receptors exist. The effects of Ca(2+)(o) on guard cells in promoting stomatal closure by inducing increases in the concentration of cytosolic Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)](i)) provide a clue to Ca(2+)(o) sensing. Here we have used a functional screening assay in mammalian cells to isolate an Arabidopsis complementary DNA clone encoding a Ca(2+)-sensing receptor, CAS. CAS is localized to the plasma membrane, exhibits low-affinity/high-capacity Ca(2+) binding, and mediates Ca(2+)(o)-induced [Ca(2+)](i) increases. CAS is expressed predominantly in the shoot, including guard cells. Repression of CAS disrupts Ca(2+)(o) signalling in guard cells, and impairs bolting (swift upward growth at the transition to seed production) in response to Ca(2+) deficiency, so we conclude that CAS may be a primary transducer of Ca(2+)(o) in plants.

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