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Investigation of Na+ and K+ transport in halophytes: Functional analysis of the HmHKT2;1 transporter from Hordeum maritimum and expression under saline conditions

Abstract : Control of K+ and Na+ transport plays a central role in plant adaptation to salinity. In the halophyte Hordeum maritimum, we have characterized a transporter gene, named HmHKT2;1, whose homologue HvHKT2;1 in cultivated barley, Hordeum vulgare, was known to give rise to increased salt tolerance when overexpressed. The encoded protein is strictly identical in two H. maritimum ecotypes, from two biotopes (Tunisian sebkhas) affected by different levels of salinity. These two ecotypes were found to display distinctive responses to salt stress in terms of biomass production, Na+ contents, K+ contents and K+ absorption efficiency. Electrophysiological analysis of HmHKT2;1 in Xenopus oocytes revealed distinctive properties when compared to HvHKT2;1 and other transporters from the same group, especially a much higher affinity for both Na+ and K+, and a Na+-K+ symporter behavior in a very broad range of Na+ and K+ concentrations, due to reduced K+ blockage of the transport pathway. Domain swapping experiments identified the region including the 5th transmembrane segment and the adjacent extracellular loop as playing a major role in the determination of the affinity for Na+ and the level of K+ blockage in these HKT2;1 transporters. Analysis (qRT-PCR) of HmHKT2;1 expression in the two ecotypes submitted to saline conditions revealed that the levels of HmHKT2;1 transcripts was maintained constant in the most salt tolerant ecotype while they decreased in the less tolerant one. Both the unique functional properties of HmHKT2;1 and the regulation of the expression of the encoding gene could contribute to H. maritimum adaptation to salinity.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 10:39:38 AM
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Dorsaf Hmidi, Dorsa Messedi, Claire Corratgé-Faillie, Théo Marhuenda, Cécile Fizames, et al.. Investigation of Na+ and K+ transport in halophytes: Functional analysis of the HmHKT2;1 transporter from Hordeum maritimum and expression under saline conditions. Plant and Cell Physiology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019, 60 (11), pp.2423-2435. ⟨10.1093/pcp/pcz136⟩. ⟨hal-02623588⟩

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