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Mol Plant. 2011 May;4(3):442-52. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssr018. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

The role of cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels in plant immunity.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S3B2, Canada.


Since the first plant cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel (CNGC), HvCBT1, was identified as a calmodulin binding protein, more than a decade has passed and a substantial amount of work has been done to understand the molecular nature and function of these channel proteins. Based on electrophysiological and heterologous expression analyses, plant CNGCs function as non-selective cation channels and, so far, their biological roles have been reported in defense responses, development, and ion homeostasis. Forward genetic approaches identified four AtCNGCs (AtCNGC2, 4, 11, and 12) to be involved in plant immunity, as null mutants for AtCNGC2, 4, 11, and 12 as well as a gain-of- function mutant for AtCNGC11 and 12 exhibited alterations in defense responses. Since ion flux changes have been reported as one of the early events upon pathogen recognition and also are an essential component for the activation of defense responses, the involvement of CNGCs in these ion flux changes has been suggested. However, the recent detailed characterization of null mutants suggested a more complex involvement of this channel family. In this review, we focus on the discoveries and characterization of these CNGC mutants and discuss possible roles of CNGCs as components in plant immunity.

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