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Planta. 2005 Oct;222(3):418-27. Epub 2005 Apr 28.

AtGLR3.4, a glutamate receptor channel-like gene is sensitive to touch and cold.

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Molecular Plant Physiology and Biophysics, University of Wuerzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2, 97082 Wuerzburg, Germany.


The Arabidopsis genome encodes for 20 members of putative ligand-gated channels, termed glutamate receptors (GLR). Despite the fact that initial studies suggested a role for GLRs in various aspects of photomorphogenesis, calcium homeostasis or aluminium toxicity, their functional properties and physiological role in plants remain elusive. Here, we have focussed on AtGLR3.4, which is ubiquitously expressed in Arabidopsis including roots, vascular bundles, mesophyll cells and guard cells. AtGLR3.4 encodes a glutamate-, touch-, and cold-sensitive member of this gene family. Abiotic stress stimuli such as touch, osmotic stress or cold stimulated AtGLR3.4 expression in an abscisic acid-independent, but calcium-dependent manner. In plants expressing the Ca(2+) -reporter apoaequorin, glutamate as well as cold elicited cytosolic calcium elevations. Upon glutamate treatment of mesophyll cells, the plasma membrane depolarised by about 120 mV. Both glutamate responses were transient in nature, sensitive to glutamate receptor antagonists, and were subject to desensitisation. One hour after eliciting the first calcium signal, a 50% recovery from desensitisation was observed, reflecting the stimulus-induced fast activation of AtGLR3.4 transcription. We thus conclude that AtGLR3.4 in particular and GLRs in general could play an important role in the Ca(2+) -based, fast transmission of environmental stress.

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