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Plant Physiol. 2019 Aug 26. pii: pp.00224.2019. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00224. [Epub ahead of print]

BCL2-ASSOCIATED ATHANOGENE4 Regulates the KAT1 Potassium Channel and Controls Stomatal Movement.

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Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP) CITY: Valencia Spain [ES].
BPMP CITY: Montpellier France [FR].
University of Malaga Campus Teatinos s/n CITY: Malaga POSTAL_CODE: 29071 Spain [ES].
University of Malaga CITY: Málaga Spain [ES].
UMR5004 CNRS/INRA/SupAgroM/UM CITY: Montpellier POSTAL_CODE: 34060 France [FR].
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP) CITY: Valencia POSTAL_CODE: 46022 Spain [ES]


Potassium (K+) is a key monovalent cation necessary for multiple aspects of cell growth and survival. In plants, this cation also plays a key role in the control of stomatal movement. KAT1 and its homolog KAT2 are the main inward rectifying channels present in guard cells, mediating K+ influx into these cells, resulting in stomatal opening. To gain further insight into the regulation of these channels, we performed a split-ubiquitin protein-protein interaction screen searching for KAT1 interactors in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). We characterized one of these candidates, BCL2-ASSOCIATED ATHANOGENE4 (BAG4), in detail using biochemical and genetic approaches to confirm this interaction and its effect on KAT1 activity. We show that BAG4 improves KAT1-mediated K+ transport in two heterologous systems and provide evidence that in plants, BAG4 interacts with KAT1 and favors the arrival of KAT1 at the plasma membrane. Importantly, lines lacking or overexpressing the BAG4 gene show altered KAT1 plasma membrane accumulation and alterations in stomatal movement. Our data allowed us to identify a KAT1 regulator and define a potential target for the plant BAG family. The identification of physiologically relevant regulators of K+ channels will aid in the design of approaches that may impact drought tolerance and pathogen susceptibility.

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