Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Salinity-induced expression of HKT may be crucial for Na(+) exclusion in the leaf blade of huckleberry (Solanum scabrum Mill.), but not of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.).

PMID 25796329


Reduced Na(+) accumulation in the leaf blade is an important aspect of salinity tolerance and high affinity K(+) transporters (HKTs) are known to play a significant role in the process. Huckleberry and eggplant have previously been shown to display 'excluder' and 'includer' characteristics, respectively, under salt stress, but the underlying mechanisms have not been investigated. Here, we isolated the cDNA of the HKT homologs, Solanum scabrum HKT (SsHKT) from huckleberry and Solanum melongena HKT (SmHKT) from eggplant, and analyzed their expressions in different tissues under salt stress. SsHKT expression was markedly induced in the root (28-fold) and stem (7-fold), with a corresponding increase in Na(+) accumulation of 52% and 29%, respectively. Conversely, eggplant accumulated 60% total Na(+) in the leaf blade, with a lower SmHKT expression level in the root (3-fold). Huckleberry also maintained a higher K(+)/Na(+) ratio in the leaf blade compared to eggplant, due to the reduction of its Na(+) concentration and unaltered K(+) concentration. Functional analysis demonstrated that SsHKT-mediated Na(+) influx inhibited yeast growth under Na(+) stress, and that SsHKT did not complement the growth of the K(+) uptake-deficient CY162 strain under K(+)-limiting conditions. These results suggest that the Na(+) accumulation characteristics of both plants are caused by the differential expression of HKT genes, with SsHKT exerting a greater control over the ability of Na(+) to reach the leaf blade in huckleberry, than SmHKT does in eggplant.