Plant roots absorb K+ from soil via K+ channels and transporters, which are important for stress responses. In this research, GmAKT1, an AKT1-type K+ channel, was isolated and characterized. The expression of GmAKT1 was induced by K+-starvation and salinity stresses, and it was preferentially expressed in the soybean roots. And GmAKT1 was located in the plasma membrane. As an inward K+ channel, GmAKT1 participated in K+ uptake, as well as rescued the low-K+-sensitive phenotype of the yeast mutant and Arabidopsis akt1 mutant. Overexpression of GmAKT1 significantly improved the growth of plants and increased K+ concentration, leading to lower Na+/K+ ratios in transgenic Arabidopsis and chimeric soybean plants with transgenic hairy roots. In addition, GmAKT1 overexpression resulted in significant upregulation of these ion uptake-related genes, including GmSKOR, GmsSOS1, GmHKT1, and GmNHX1. Our findings suggested that GmAKT1 plays an important part in K+ uptake under low-K+ condition, and could maintain Na+/K+ homeostasis under salt stress in Arabidopsis and soybean plants.
Keywords: Glycine max; GmAKT1; K(+)uptake; Na(+)/K(+)homeostasis; Salt tolerance.
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