Alkali cation exchangers: roles in cellular homeostasis and stress tolerance

Journal of Experimental Botany
José M PardoFrancisco J Quintero


Uptake and translocation of cations play essential roles in plant nutrition, signal transduction, growth, and development. Among them, potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+) have been the focus of numerous physiological studies because K+ is an essential macronutrient and the most abundant inorganic cation in plant cells, whereas Na+ toxicity is a principal component of the deleterious effects associated with salinity stress. Although the homeostasis of these two ions was long surmised to be fine tuned and under complex regulation, the myriad of candidate membrane transporters mediating their uptake, intracellular distribution, and long-distance transport is nevertheless perplexing. Recent advances have shown that, in addition to their function in vacuolar accumulation of Na+, proteins of the NHX family are endosomal transporters that also play critical roles in K+ homeostasis, luminal pH control, and vesicle trafficking. The plasma membrane SOS1 protein from Arabidopsis thaliana, a highly specific Na+/H+ exchanger that catalyses Na+ efflux and that regulates its root/shoot distribution, has also revealed surprising interactions with K+ uptake mechanisms by roots. Finally, the function of individual members of the large CHX family rem...Continue Reading


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