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The Potassium Transporter AtKUP12 Enhances Tolerance to Salt Stress through the Maintenance of the K+/Na+ Ratio in Arabidopsis

Hua Zhang#, Zhongmin Yang#, Xilong You, Youqiang Heng, Yan Wang*
Xinjiang Key Laboratory of Biological Resources and Genetic Engineering, College of Life Science and Technology, Xinjiang University, Urumqi, 830046, China
* Corresponding Author: Yan Wang. Email:
# These authors have contributed equally to this work
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Physiology for Crop Production and Sustainable Agriculture)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2021, 90(2), 389-402.

Received 03 September 2020; Accepted 25 October 2020; Issue published 07 February 2021


Potassium (K+) is a necessary nutrient for plant growth and crop production. The K+ transporter plays crucial roles in the absorption and transport of K+ in plants. Most K+ transporters in Arabidopsis have been reported, but AtKUP12, which is a member of the KT/KUP/HAK family, has not yet been the subject of relevant in-depth research. In the present study, we demonstrated that AtKUP12 plays a crucial role in K+ uptake in Arabidopsis under 100 μM lowK+ and 125 mM salt stress conditions. AtKUP12 transcripts were induced by K+ deficiency and salt stress. We analyzed the K+ uptake of AtKUP12 using the K+ uptake-deficient yeast R5421 and Arabidopsis mutant atkup12. Transformation with AtKUP12 rescued the growth defect of mutant yeast and atkup12 mutant plants at the low-K+ concentration, which suggested that AtKUP12 might be involved in high-affinity K+ uptake in low-K+ environments. In comparison to the wild-type (WT) and atkup12-AtKUP12 complementation lines, atkup12 showed a dramatic reduction in potassium concentration, K+/Na+ ratio, and root and shoot growth on 12-day-old seedlings under the salt conditions; however, there was no significant difference between the complementation and WT lines. Taken together, these results demonstrate that AtKUP12 might participate in salt tolerance in Arabidopsis through K+ uptake and K+/Na+ homeostasis.


AtKUP12; atkup12 mutant; K+ uptake; K+/Na+ homeostasis; salt tolerance

Cite This Article

Zhang, H., Yang, Z., You, X., Heng, Y., Wang, Y. (2021). The Potassium Transporter AtKUP12 Enhances Tolerance to Salt Stress through the Maintenance of the K+/Na+ Ratio in Arabidopsis. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 90(2), 389–402.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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