Boron Toxicity Tolerance in Barley through Reduced Expression of the Multifunctional Aquaporin HvNIP2;1

Thorsten Schnurbusch, Julie Hayes, Maria Hrmova, Ute Baumann, Sunita A. Ramesh, Stephen D. Tyerman, Peter Langridge, Tim Sutton

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119 Citations (Scopus)


Boron (B) toxicity is a significant limitation to cereal crop production in a number of regions worldwide. Here we describe the cloning of a gene from barley (Hordeum vulgare), underlying the chromosome 6H B toxicity tolerance quantitative trait locus. It is the second B toxicity tolerance gene identified in barley. Previously, we identified the gene Bot1 that functions as an efflux transporter in B toxicity-tolerant barley to move B out of the plant. The gene identified in this work encodes HvNIP2;1, an aquaporin from the nodulin-26-like intrinsic protein (NIP) subfamily that was recently described as a silicon influx transporter in barley and rice (Oryza sativa). Here we show that a rice mutant for this gene also shows reduced B accumulation in leaf blades compared to wild type and that the mutant protein alters growth of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) under high B. HvNIP2;1 facilitates significant transport of B when expressed in Xenopus oocytes compared to controls and to another NIP (NOD26), and also in yeast plasma membranes that appear to have relatively high B permeability. We propose that tolerance to high soil B is mediated by reduced expression of HvNIP2;1 to limit B uptake, as well as by increased expression of Bot1 to remove B from roots and sensitive tissues. Together with Bot1, the multifunctional aquaporin HvNIP2;1 is an important determinant of B toxicity tolerance in barley.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1706-1715
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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