Soil bacteria confer plant salt tolerance by tissue-specific regulation of the sodium transporter HKT1

Huiming Zhang, Mi Seong Kim, Yan Sun, Scot E. Dowd, Huazhong Shi, Paul W. Paré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

211 Scopus citations

Abstract

Elevated sodium (Na+) decreases plant growth and, thereby, agricultural productivity. The ion transporter high-affinity K+ transporter (HKT)1 controls Na+ import in roots, yet dysfunction or overexpression of HKT1 fails to increase salt tolerance, raising questions as to HKT1's role in regulating Na+ homeostasis. Here, we report that tissuespecific regulation of HKT1 by the soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis GB03 confers salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Under salt stress (100 mM NaCl), GB03 concurrently down- and upregulates HKT1 expression in roots and shoots, respectively, resulting in lower Na+ accumulation throughout the plant compared with controls. Consistent with HKT1 participation in GB03-induced salt tolerance, GB03 fails to rescue salt-stressed athkt1 mutants from stunted foliar growth and elevated total Na+ whereas salt-stressed Na+ export mutants sos3 show GB03-induced salt tolerance with enhanced shoot and root growth as well as reduced total Na+. These results demonstrate that tissue-specific regulation of HKT1 is critical for managing Na+ homeostasis in salt-stressed plants, as well as underscore the breadth and sophistication of plant-microbe interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-744
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

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