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Plant Cell Environ. 2010 May;33(5):793-804. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2009.02105.x. Epub 2010 Feb 5.

Variation in salinity tolerance and shoot sodium accumulation in Arabidopsis ecotypes linked to differences in the natural expression levels of transporters involved in sodium transport.

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  • 1The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and the University of Adelaide, PMB1, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.


Salinity tolerance can be attributed to three different mechanisms: Na+ exclusion from the shoot, Na+ tissue tolerance and osmotic tolerance. Although several key ion channels and transporters involved in these processes are known, the variation in expression profiles and the effects of these proteins on Na+ transport in different accessions of the same species are unknown. Here, expression profiles of the genes AtHKT1;1, AtSOS1, AtNHX1 and AtAVP1 are determined in four ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana. Not only are these genes differentially regulated between ecotypes, the expression levels of the genes can be linked to the concentration of Na+ in the plant. An inverse relationship was found between AtSOS1 expression in the root and total plant Na+ accumulation, supporting a role for AtSOS1 in Na+ efflux from the plant. Similarly, ecotypes with high expression levels of AtHKT1;1 in the root had lower shoot Na+ concentrations, due to the hypothesized role of AtHKT1;1 in retrieval of Na+ from the transpiration stream. The inverse relationship between shoot Na+ concentration and salinity tolerance typical of most cereal crop plants was not demonstrated, but a positive relationship was found between salt tolerance and levels of AtAVP1 expression, which may be related to tissue tolerance.

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