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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11267

Title: Physiology of Potassium Nutrition in Cereals: Fluxes, Compartmentation, and Ionic Interactions
Authors: Szczerba, Mark
Advisor: Kronzucker, Herbert
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Keywords: Potassium
Compartmental analysis
Nitrogen
Plant physiology
Efflux
Influx
Electrophysiology
Barley
Rice
Ammonium
Nitrate
Cellular Ion Exchange
Low-affinity transport system
High-affinity transport system
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2008
Abstract: Potassium (K+) is an essential nutrient and the most abundant cation in plant cells. Plants possess two transport systems for K+ acquisition: a high-affinity system (HATS), operating at external K+ concentrations ([K+]ext) below 1 mM, and showing reduced transport activity in the presence of ammonium (NH4+); and, a low-affinity system (LATS), operating at [K+]ext above 1 mM, that is not affected by NH4+. K+ transport and compartmentation were investigated in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.) using the non-invasive technique of compartmental analysis by tracer efflux (CATE), to simultaneously determine unidirectional membrane fluxes, ion concentrations, and exchange characteristics in subcellular compartments. These studies revealed striking differences in unidirectional K+ fluxes between HATS and LATS. It was found that flux measurements, using traditional direct influx (DI) protocols, accurately represented HATS influx, but underestimated LATS influx by as much as seven-fold. In both barley and rice, LATS K+ fluxes were found to undergo rapid, futile cycling, with the ratio of efflux:influx 3 to 5 times greater, and the cytosolic exchange rate 2 to 3 times faster than under HATS. Based upon plasma-membrane electrical potential measurements, efflux was found to be active under LATS conditions. LATS-mediated conditions for K+ were found to provide relief from NH4+ toxicity in barley by immediately reducing NH4+ influx by more than 50%, and significantly reducing NH4+ futile cycling. Employing the K+ channel inhibitors cesium, lanthanum, and tetraethylammonium, NH4+ was shown to have both K+-sensitive and –insensitive influx pathways at high [NH4+]ext. Based on current models of flux energetics, the combined uptake of K+ and NH4+ was found to utilize 60% of root oxygen consumption. Barley and rice both showed signs of NH4+ toxicity at low [K+]ext, but rice recovered at much lower [K+]ext, suggesting a crucial role of K+ in the NH4+-tolerance of rice. These experiments address fundamental aspects of K+ fluxes, and help provide a physiological framework for future studies of K+ transport and mineral nutrition.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/11267
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology - Doctoral theses

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