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Regulation of potassium transport in plants under hostile conditions: implications for abiotic and biotic stress tolerance

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 01:58 authored by Sergey ShabalaSergey Shabala, Igor Pottosin
Intracellular potassium homeostasis is a prerequisite for the optimal operation of plant metabolic machinery and plant’s overall performance. It is controlled by K+ uptake, efflux and intracellular and long-distance relocation, mediated by a large number of K+-selective and non-selective channels and transporters located at both plasma and vacuolar membranes. All abiotic and biotic stresses result in a significant disturbance to intracellular potassium homeostasis. In this work, we discuss molecular mechanisms and messengers mediating potassium transport and homeostasis focusing on four major environmental stresses: salinity, drought, flooding and biotic factors. We argue that cytosolic K+ content may be considered as one of the ‘master switches’ enabling plant transition from the normal metabolism to ‘hibernated state’ during first hours after the stress exposure and then to a recovery phase. We show that all these stresses trigger substantial disturbance to K+ homeostasis and provoke a feedback control on K+ channels and transporters expression and posttranslational regulation of their activity, optimizing K+ absorption and usage, and, at the extreme end, assisting the programmed cell death. We discuss specific modes of regulation of the activity of K+ channels and transporters by membrane voltage, intracellular Ca2+, reactive oxygen species, polyamines, phytohormones and gasotransmitters, and link this regulation with plantadaptive responses to hostile environments.


Publication title

Physiologia Plantarum








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Blackwell Munksgaard

Place of publication

35 Norre Sogade, Po Box 2148, Copenhagen, Denmark, Dk-1016

Rights statement

Copyright 2014 Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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