Uptake and Long-Distance Transport of Phosphate, Potassium and Chloride in Relation to Internal Ion Concentrations in Barley: Evidence of Non-Allosteric Regulation

Planta. 1984 May;160(6):500-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00411137.


The extent to which uptake and transport of either phosphate, potassium or chloride are controlled by the concentration of these ions within the root, perhaps through an allosteric mechanism, was investigated with young barley plants in nutrient solution culture. Plants were grown with their roots divided between two containers, such that a single seminal root was continuously supplied with all the required nutrient ions, while the remaining four or five seminal roots were either supplied with the same solution (controls) or, temporarily, a solution lacking a particular nutrient ion (nutrient-deficient treatment). Compared with controls, there was a marked stimulation of uptake and transport of labelled ions by the single root following 24 h or more of nutrient dificiency to the remainder of the root system. This stimulation, which comprised an increased transport to the shoot and, for all ions except Cl(-), increased transport to the remainder of the root system, took place without appreciable change in the concentration of particular ions within the single root. However, nutrient deficiency quickly caused a lower concentration of ions in the shoot and the remaining roots. The results are discussed in relation to various mechanisms, proposed in the literature, by which the coordination of ion uptake and transport may be maintained within the plant. We suggest that under our conditions any putative allosteric control of uptake and transport by root cortical cells was masked by an alternative mechanism, in which ion influx appears to be regulated by ion efflux to the xylem, perhaps controlled by the concentration of particular ions recycled in the phloem to the root from the shoot.