Improved salinity tolerance of rice through cell type-specific expression of ATHKT1;1

Darren Plett, Gehan Safwat, Matthew Gilliham, Inge Skrumsager Møller, Stuart Roy, Neil Shirley, Andrew Jacobs, Alexander Johnson, Mark Tester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (SciVal)


Previously, cell type-specific expression of AtHKT1;1, a sodium transporter, improved sodium (Na+) exclusion and salinity tolerance in Arabidopsis. In the current work, AtHKT1;1, was expressed specifically in the root cortical and epidermal cells of an Arabidopsis GAL4-GFP enhancer trap line. These transgenic plants were found to have significantly improved Na+ exclusion under conditions of salinity stress. The feasibility of a similar biotechnological approach in crop plants was explored using a GAL4-GFP enhancer trap rice line to drive expression of AtHKT1;1 specifically in the root cortex. Compared with the background GAL4-GFP line, the rice plants expressing AtHKT1;1 had a higher fresh weight under salinity stress, which was related to a lower concentration of Na+ in the shoots. The root-to-shoot transport of 22Na+ was also decreased and was correlated with an upregulation of OsHKT1;5, the native transporter responsible for Na+ retrieval from the transpiration stream. Interestingly, in the transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing AtHKT1;1 in the cortex and epidermis, the native AtHKT1;1 gene responsible for Na+ retrieval from the transpiration stream, was also upregulated. Extra Na+ retrieved from the xylem was stored in the outer root cells and was correlated with a significant increase in expression of the vacuolar pyrophosphatases (in Arabidopsis and rice) the activity of which would be necessary to move the additional stored Na+ into the vacuoles of these cells. This work presents an important step in the development of abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants via targeted changes in mineral transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12571
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved salinity tolerance of rice through cell type-specific expression of ATHKT1;1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this