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EMBO J. 1995 Jun 1;14(11):2409-16.

Cloning and electrophysiological analysis of KST1, an inward rectifying K+ channel expressed in potato guard cells.

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Institut für Genbiologische Forschung Berlin GmbH, Germany.


Potassium uptake by guard cells represents part of the osmotic motor which drives stomatal opening. Patch-clamp measurements have identified inward rectifying K+ channels capable of mediating K+ uptake in guard cells and various other plant cell types. Here we report the molecular cloning and characterization of a voltage-dependent K+ channel (KST1) from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) guard cells. In situ hybridization shows expression of kst1 in guard cells. Two-electrode voltage-clamp and patch-clamp studies of the gene product after cRNA injection into Xenopus oocytes identified KST1 as a slowly activating, voltage-dependent, inward rectifying K+ channel. The single channel current voltage curve was linear in the range -160 to +20 mV, with a deduced single channel conductance of 7 pS in symmetrical 100 mM K+. This channel type, modulated by pH changes within the physiological range, required ATP for activation. In line with the properties of a K(+)-selective channel, KST1 was permeable to K+, Rb+ and NH4+ and excluded Na+ and Li+. Cs+ at submillimolar concentrations blocked the channel in a voltage-dependent manner. Related studies on potato guard cell protoplasts confirmed the biophysical characteristics of the kst1 gene product (KST1) in the heterologous expression system. Therefore, KST1 represents a major K+ uptake channel in potato guard cells.

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