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Plant Physiol. 2006 Aug;141(4):1653-65. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Extracellular Ca2+ ameliorates NaCl-induced K+ loss from Arabidopsis root and leaf cells by controlling plasma membrane K+ -permeable channels.

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School of Agricultural Sciences , University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia.


Calcium can ameliorate Na+ toxicity in plants by decreasing Na+ influx through nonselective cation channels. Here, we show that elevated external [Ca2+] also inhibits Na+ -induced K+ efflux through outwardly directed, K+ -permeable channels. Noninvasive ion flux measuring and patch-clamp techniques were used to characterize K+ fluxes from Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root mature epidermis and leaf mesophyll under various Ca2+ to Na+ ratios. NaCl-induced K+ efflux was not related to the osmotic component of the salt stress, was inhibited by the K+ channel blocker TEA+, was not mediated by inwardly directed K+ channels (tested in the akt1 mutant), and resulted in a significant decrease in cytosolic K+ content. NaCl-induced K+ efflux was partially inhibited by 1 mm Ca2+ and fully prevented by 10 mm Ca2+. This ameliorative effect was at least partially attributed to a less dramatic NaCl-induced membrane depolarization under high Ca2+ conditions. Patch-clamp experiments (whole-cell mode) have demonstrated that two populations of Ca2+ -sensitive K+ efflux channels exist in protoplasts isolated from the mature epidermis of Arabidopsis root and leaf mesophyll cells. The instantaneously activating K+ efflux channels showed weak voltage dependence and insensitivity to external and internal Na+. Another population of K+ efflux channels was slowly activating, steeply rectifying, and highly sensitive to Na+. K+ efflux channels in roots and leaves showed different Ca2+ and Na+ sensitivities, suggesting that these organs may employ different strategies to withstand salinity. Our results suggest an additional mechanism of Ca2+ action on salt toxicity in plants: the amelioration of K+ loss from the cell by regulating (both directly and indirectly) K+ efflux channels.

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