The grapevine NaE sodium exclusion locus encodes sodium transporters with diverse transport properties and localisation

J Plant Physiol. 2020 Mar-Apr:246-247:153113. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2020.153113. Epub 2020 Jan 17.


Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is a valuable crop for human consumption and wine production, and is prone to suffering from salinity stress in arid regions or when exposed to low quality irrigation water. A previous study identified a quantitative trait locus (QTL) NaE, containing six High-affinity Potassium Transporter 1 genes, that was associated with shoot Na+ exclusion in grapevine. While HKT1;1 was predicted to be the most likely gene within this QTL to encode for this important salinity tolerance sub-trait, four other HKTs within the QTL remained uncharacterised; VviHKT1;2 encodes a truncated transcript unlikely to form a functional transporter. In this study, two allelic variants for each of VviHKT1;6, VviHKT1;7 and VviHKT1;8 from the heterozygous grapevine variety Cabernet Sauvignon were functionally characterised. Using the Xenopus laevis oocyte heterologous expression system, as well as transient expression in tobacco leaves, we found that the VviHKT1;6 and VviHKT1;7 alleles encoded plasma membrane localised proteins that facilitated significant non-rectifying Na+ transport. Conversely, proteins encoded by the VviHKT1;8 alleles were inwardly-rectifying, weak Na+ transporters that localised to intracellular organelles. Mining of previous RNA-seq gene expression data suggested that VviHKT1;6-8 are weakly expressed in grapevine roots, flower buds, and seeds under normal conditions and different nutrient regimes. We propose that VviHKT1;6 and VviHKT1;7 are likely to have a less significant role in grapevine leaf Na+ exclusion than VviHKT1;1, and that VviHKT1;8 is involved in endomembrane Na+ transport.

Keywords: Electrophysiology; Grapevine; HKT; Salt exclusion; Sodium transporter; Vitis vinifera.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Oocytes
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Symporters / genetics*
  • Symporters / metabolism
  • Vitis / genetics*
  • Vitis / metabolism
  • Xenopus


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • HKT1 protein, plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • Symporters
  • Sodium