ENT1 of Arabidopsis thaliana was the first member of the equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT) family to be identified in plants and characterized as a cellular, high-affinity nucleoside importer. Evidence is presented here for a tonoplast localization of ENT1 based on proteome data and Western blot analyses. Increased export of adenosine from reconstituted tonoplast preparations from 35S:ENT1 mutants compared with those from the wild type and ENT1-RNAi mutants support this view. Furthermore, increased vacuolar adenosine and vacuolar 2'3'-cAMP (an intermediate of RNA catabolism) contents in ENT1-RNAi mutants, but decreased contents of these metabolites in 35S:ENT1 over-expresser mutants, were observed. An up-regulation of the salvage pathway was detected in the latter mutants, leading to the conclusion that draining the vacuolar adenosine storage by ENT1 over-expression interferes with cellular nucleotide metabolism. As a consequence of the observed metabolic alterations 35S:ENT1 over-expresser mutants exhibited a smaller phenotypic appearance compared with wild-type plants. In addition, ENT1:RNAi mutants exhibited significantly lower in vitro germination of pollen and contained reduced internal and external ATP levels. This indicates that ENT1-mediated nucleosides, especially adenosine transport, is important for nucleotide metabolism, thus influencing growth and pollen germination.
© 2011 The Author(s).