Many important agronomic traits in crop plants, including stress tolerance, are complex traits controlled by quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Isolation of these QTLs holds great promise to improve world agriculture but is a challenging task. We previously mapped a rice QTL, SKC1, that maintained K(+) homeostasis in the salt-tolerant variety under salt stress, consistent with the earlier finding that K(+) homeostasis is important in salt tolerance. To understand the molecular basis of this QTL, we isolated the SKC1 gene by map-based cloning and found that it encoded a member of HKT-type transporters. SKC1 is preferentially expressed in the parenchyma cells surrounding the xylem vessels. Voltage-clamp analysis showed that SKC1 protein functions as a Na(+)-selective transporter. Physiological analysis suggested that SKC1 is involved in regulating K(+)/Na(+) homeostasis under salt stress, providing a potential tool for improving salt tolerance in crops.