Non-selective cation channel activity of aquaporin AtPIP2;1 regulated by Ca2+ and pH

Caitlin S. Byrt, Manchun Zhao, Mohamad Kourghi, Jayakumar Bose, Sam W. Henderson, Jiaen Qiu, Matthew Gilliham, Carolyn Schultz, Manuel Schwarz, Sunita A. Ramesh, Andrea Yool, Steve Tyerman

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104 Citations (Scopus)


The aquaporin AtPIP2;1 is an abundant plasma membrane intrinsic protein in Arabidopsis thaliana that is implicated in stomatal closure, and is highly expressed in plasma membranes of root epidermal cells. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, AtPIP2;1 increased water permeability and induced a non-selective cation conductance mainly associated with Na+. A mutation in the water pore, G103W, prevented both the ionic conductance and water permeability of PIP2;1. Co-expression of AtPIP2;1 with AtPIP1;2 increased water permeability but abolished the ionic conductance. AtPIP2;2 (93% identical to AtPIP2;1) similarly increased water permeability but not ionic conductance. The ionic conductance was inhibited by the application of extracellular Ca2+ and Cd2+, with Ca2+ giving a biphasic dose–response with a prominent IC50 of 0.32 mм comparable with a previous report of Ca2+ sensitivity of a non-selective cation channel (NSCC) in Arabidopsis root protoplasts. Low external pH also inhibited ionic conductance (IC50 pH 6.8). Xenopus oocytes and Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing AtPIP2;1 accumulated more Na+ than controls. Establishing whether AtPIP2;1 has dual ion and water permeability in planta will be important in understanding the roles of this aquaporin and if AtPIP2;1 is a candidate for a previously reported NSCC responsible for Ca2+ and pH sensitive Na+ entry into roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-815
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • ion transport
  • PIP
  • plasma membrane
  • root
  • water transport


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