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J Exp Bot. 2009;60(4):1363-74. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp011. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Activity of tonoplast proton pumps and Na+/H+ exchange in potato cell cultures is modulated by salt.

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Departamento de Botânica, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Ed. FC4, Rua do Campo Alegre, s/n masculine, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal.


The efficient exclusion of excess Na from the cytoplasm and vacuolar Na(+) accumulation are the main mechanisms for the adaptation of plants to salt stress. This is typically carried out by transmembrane transport proteins that exclude Na(+) from the cytosol in exchange for H(+), a secondary transport process which is energy-dependent and driven by the proton-motive force generated by plasma-membrane and tonoplast proton pumps. Tonoplast enriched-vesicles from control and 150 mM NaCl-tolerant calli lines were used as a model system to study the activity of V-H(+)-PPase and V-H(+)-ATPase and the involvement of Na(+) compartmentalization into the vacuole as a mechanism of salt tolerance in Solanum tuberosum. Both ATP- and pyrophosphate (PP(i))-dependent H(+)-transport were higher in tonoplast vesicles from the salt-tolerant line than in vesicles from control cells. Western blotting of tonoplast proteins confirmed that changes in V-H(+)-PPase activity are correlated with increased protein amount. Conversely, immunodetection of the A-subunit of V-H(+)-ATPase revealed that a mechanism of post-translational regulation is probably involved. Na(+)-dependent dissipation of a pre-established pH gradient was used to measure Na(+)/H(+) exchange in tonoplast vesicles. The initial rates of proton efflux followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics and the V(max) of proton dissipation was 2-fold higher in NaCl-tolerant calli when compared to the control. H(+)-coupled exchange was specific for Na(+) and Li(+) and not for K(+). The increase of both the pH gradient across the tonoplast and the Na(+)/H(+) antiport activity in response to salt strongly suggests that Na(+) sequestration into the vacuole contributes to salt tolerance in potato.

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