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Plant Cell Physiol. 2006 May;47(5):622-33. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

Calcium regulation of sodium hypersensitivities of sos3 and athkt1 mutants.

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Division of Biological Sciences, Cell and Developmental Biology Section, and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA.


T-DNA disruption mutations in the AtHKT1 gene have previously been shown to suppress the salt sensitivity of the sos3 mutant. However, both sos3 and athkt1 single mutants show sodium (Na+) hypersensitivity. In the present study we further analyzed the underlying mechanisms for these non-additive and counteracting Na+ sensitivities by characterizing athkt1-1 sos3 and athkt1-2 sos3 double mutant plants. Unexpectedly, mature double mutant plants grown in soil clearly showed an increased Na+ hypersensitivity compared with wild-type plants when plants were subjected to salinity stress. The salt sensitive phenotype of athkt1 sos3 double mutant plants was similar to that of athkt1 plants, which showed chlorosis in leaves and stems. The Na+ content in xylem sap samples of soil-grown athkt1 sos3 double and athkt1 single mutant plants showed dramatic Na+ overaccumulation in response to salinity stress. Salinity stress analyses using basic minimal nutrient medium and Murashige-Skoog (MS) medium revealed that athkt1 sos3 double mutant plants show a more athkt1 single mutant-like phenotype in the presence of 3 mM external Ca2+, but show a more sos3 single mutant-like phenotype in the presence of 1 mM external Ca2+. Taken together multiple analyses demonstrate that the external Ca2+ concentration strongly impacts the Na+ stress response of athkt1 sos3 double mutants. Furthermore, the presented findings show that SOS3 and AtHKT1 are physiologically distinct major determinants of salinity resistance such that sos3 more strongly causes Na+ overaccumulation in roots, whereas athkt1 causes an increase in Na+ levels in the xylem sap and shoots and a concomitant Na+ reduction in roots.

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