Xylem ionic relations and salinity tolerance in barley
Shabala, SN and Shabala, SI and Cuin, TA and Pang, J and Percey, WJ and Chen, Z and Conn, S and Eing, C and Wegner, LH, Xylem ionic relations and salinity tolerance in barley, The Plant Journal, 61, (5) pp. 839-853. ISSN 0960-7412 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Control of ion loading into the xylem has been repeatedly named as a crucial factor determining plant salt tolerance. In this study we further investigate this issue by applying a range of biophysical [the microelectrode ion flux measurement (MIFE) technique for non-invasive ion flux measurements, the patch clamp technique, membrane potential measurements] and physiological (xylem sap and tissue nutrient analysis, photosynthetic characteristics, stomatal conductance) techniques to barley varieties contrasting in their salt tolerance. We report that restricting Na+ loading into the xylem is not essential for conferring salinity tolerance in barley, with tolerant varieties showing xylem Na+ concentrations at least as high as those of sensitive ones. At the same time, tolerant genotypes are capable of maintaining higher xylem K+/Na+ ratios and efficiently sequester the accumulated Na+ in leaves. The former is achieved by more efficient loading of K+ into the xylem. We argue that the observed increases in xylem K+ and Na+ concentrations in tolerant genotypes are required for efficient osmotic adjustment, needed to support leaf expansion growth. We also provide evidence that K+-permeable voltage-sensitive channels are involved in xylem loading and operate in a feedback manner to maintain a constant K+/Na+ ratio in the xylem sap.
salt stress, xylem sap, potassium, sodium, ion channels, membrane depolarization