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Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Nov;16(11):614-23. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

The role of mitochondrial respiration in salinity tolerance.

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ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and Centre for Comparative Analysis of Biomolecular Networks, M316, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.


NaCl is the most abundant salt in salinity-affected land. The ability of plants to sift the water table, limit NaCl uptake, compartmentalise Na⁺/Cl⁻ ions and prevent negative ionic and osmotic effects on cell function, are the foundations of salinity tolerance mechanisms. In this review, we show that although the quantitative response of respiratory rate to changes in salt concentration is complex, the properties of respiratory processes are crucial for tolerance during ion exclusion and tissue tolerance. We consider whole-plant gas exchange and carbon balance analysis alongside the salt responses of mitochondrial properties and genetic studies manipulating respiratory processes. We showcase the importance of efficient ATP generation, dampened reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial osmolytes for salinity tolerance in plants.

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