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J Plant Physiol. 2009 Mar 15;166(5):447-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2008.12.009. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

K+ transport in plants: physiology and molecular biology.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Potassium (K(+)) is an essential nutrient and the most abundant cation in plant cells. Plants have a wide variety of transport systems for K(+) acquisition, catalyzing K(+) uptake across a wide spectrum of external concentrations, and mediating K(+) movement within the plant as well as its efflux into the environment. K(+) transport responds to variations in external K(+) supply, to the presence of other ions in the root environment, and to a range of plant stresses, via Ca(2+) signaling cascades and regulatory proteins. This review will summarize the molecular identities of known K(+) transporters, and examine how this information supports physiological investigations of K(+) transport and studies of plant stress responses in a changing environment.

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