The use of alkaline salt lands for crop production is hindered by a scarcity of knowledge and breeding efforts for plant alkaline tolerance. Through genome association analysis of sorghum, a naturally high-alkaline-tolerant crop, we detected a major locus, Alkaline Tolerance 1 (AT1), specifically related to alkaline-salinity sensitivity. An at1 allele with a carboxyl-terminal truncation increased sensitivity, whereas knockout of AT1 increased tolerance to alkalinity in sorghum, millet, rice, and maize. AT1 encodes an atypical G protein γ subunit that affects the phosphorylation of aquaporins to modulate the distribution of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). These processes appear to protect plants against oxidative stress by alkali. Designing knockouts of AT1 homologs or selecting its natural nonfunctional alleles could improve crop productivity in sodic lands.