A Role for the AKT1 Potassium Channel in Plant Nutrition

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Science  08 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5365, pp. 918-921
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5365.918

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In plants, potassium serves an essential role as an osmoticum and charge carrier. Its uptake by roots occurs by poorly defined mechanisms. To determine the role of potassium channels in planta, we performed a reverse genetic screen and identified an Arabidopsis thaliana mutant in which the AKT1 channel gene was disrupted. Roots of this mutant lacked inward-rectifying potassium channels and displayed reduced potassium (rubidium-86) uptake. Compared with wild type, mutant plants grew poorly on media with a potassium concentration of 100 micromolar or less. These results and membrane potential measurements suggest that the AKT1 channel mediates potassium uptake from solutions that contain as little as 10 micromolar potassium.

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