The role of a potassium transporter OsHAK5 in potassium acquisition and transport from roots to shoots in rice at low potassium supply levels

Tianyuan Yang, Song Zhang, Yibing Hu, Fachi Wu, Qingdi Hu, Guang Chen, Jing Cai, Ting Wu, Nava Moran, Ling Yu, Guohua Xu
Plant Physiology 2014, 166 (2): 945-59
In plants, K transporter (KT)/high affinity K transporter (HAK)/K uptake permease (KUP) is the largest potassium (K) transporter family; however, few of the members have had their physiological functions characterized in planta. Here, we studied OsHAK5 of the KT/HAK/KUP family in rice (Oryza sativa). We determined its cellular and tissue localization and analyzed its functions in rice using both OsHAK5 knockout mutants and overexpression lines in three genetic backgrounds. A β-glucuronidase reporter driven by the OsHAK5 native promoter indicated OsHAK5 expression in various tissue organs from root to seed, abundantly in root epidermis and stele, the vascular tissues, and mesophyll cells. Net K influx rate in roots and K transport from roots to aerial parts were severely impaired by OsHAK5 knockout but increased by OsHAK5 overexpression in 0.1 and 0.3 mm K external solution. The contribution of OsHAK5 to K mobilization within the rice plant was confirmed further by the change of K concentration in the xylem sap and K distribution in the transgenic lines when K was removed completely from the external solution. Overexpression of OsHAK5 increased the K-sodium concentration ratio in the shoots and salt stress tolerance (shoot growth), while knockout of OsHAK5 decreased the K-sodium concentration ratio in the shoots, resulting in sensitivity to salt stress. Taken together, these results demonstrate that OsHAK5 plays a major role in K acquisition by roots faced with low external K and in K upward transport from roots to shoots in K-deficient rice plants.


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