Exchangers man the pumps: Functional interplay between proton pumps and proton-coupled Ca exchangers

Plant Signal Behav. 2008 May;3(5):354-6. doi: 10.4161/psb.3.5.5600.


Tonoplast-localised proton-coupled Ca(2+) transporters encoded by cation/H(+)exchanger (CAX) genes play a critical role in sequestering Ca(2+) into the vacuole. These transporters may function in coordination with Ca(2+) release channels, to shape stimulus-induced cytosolic Ca(2+) elevations. Recent analysis of Arabidopsis CAX knockout mutants, particularly cax1 and cax3, identified a variety of phenotypes including sensitivity to abiotic stresses, which indicated that these transporters might play a role in mediating the plant's stress response. A common feature of these mutants was the perturbation of H(+)-ATPase activity at both the tonoplast and the plasma membrane, suggesting a tight interplay between the Ca(2+)/H(+) exchangers and H(+) pumps. We speculate that indirect regulation of proton flux by the exchangers may be as important as the direct regulation of Ca(2+) flux. These results suggest cautious interpretation of mutant Ca(2+)/H(+) exchanger phenotypes that may be due to either perturbed Ca(2+) or H(+) transport.

Keywords: Ca2+ transport; Ca2+/H+ exchanger; H+-ATPase; Na+ transport; abiotic stress; pH; salt stress; vacuole.