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Low-Affinity Na+ Uptake in the Halophyte Suaeda maritima

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 06:11 authored by Suo-Min Wang, Jin-Lin Zhang, Tim Flowers
Na+ uptake by plant roots has largely been explored using species that accumulate little Na+ into their shoots. By way of contrast, the halophyte Suaeda maritima accumulates, without injury, concentrations of the order of 400 mM NaCl in its leaves. Here we report that cAMP and Ca2+ (blockers of nonselective cation channels) and Li+ (a competitive inhibitor of Na+ uptake) did not have any significant effect on the uptake of Na+ by the halophyte S. maritima when plants were in 25 or 150 mM NaCl (150 mM NaCl is near optimal for growth). However, the inhibitors of K+ channels, TEA+ (10 mM), Cs+ (3 mM), and Ba2+ (5 mM), significantly reduced the net uptake of Na+ from 150 mM NaCl over 48 h, by 54%, 24%, and 29%, respectively. TEA+ (10 mM), Cs_ (3 mM), and Ba2+ (1 mM) also significantly reduced 22Na+ influx (measured over 2 min in 150 mM external NaCl) by 47%, 30%, and 31%, respectively. In contrast to the situation in 150 mM NaCl, neither TEA+ (110 mM) nor Cs+ (0.510 mM) significantly reduced net Na+ uptake or 22Na+ influx in 25 mM NaCl. Ba2+ (at 5 mM) did significantly decrease net Na+ uptake (by 47%) and 22Na+ influx (by 36% with 1 mM Ba2+) in 25 mM NaCl. K+ (10 or 50 mM) had no effect on 22Na+ influx at concentrations below 75 mM NaCl, but the influx of 22Na+ was inhibited by 50 mM K+ when the external concentration of NaCl was above 75 mM. The data suggest that neither nonselective cation channels nor a low-affinity cation transporter are major pathways for Na+ entry into root cells. We propose that two distinct low-affinity Na+ uptake pathways exist in S. maritima: Pathway 1 is insensitive to TEA+ or Cs+, but sensitive to Ba2+ and mediates Na+ uptake under low salinities (25 mM NaCl); pathway 2 is sensitive to TEA+, Cs+, and Ba2+ and mediates Na+ uptake under higher external salt concentrations (150 mM NaCl). Pathway 1 might be mediated by a high-affinity K transporter-type transporter and pathway 2 by an AKT1-type channel.


Publication status

  • Published


Plant Physiology




American Society of Plant Biologists





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Department affiliated with

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications


How sodium enters plant cells is poorly understood. This paper provides evidence, from the use of inhibitors, of the transporters involved in a salt-tolerant plant. It continues work conducted over many years in Flowers' laboratory. The research was undertaken in Sussex by two visitors from China.

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