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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

Crop Systems Engineering Seminar Series Event

12 April 2013
Room 2209, Life Sciences Building (85), Highfield Campus, University of Southampton, University Road, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Dr Keith Daly at .

Event details

"How plants regulate root-to-shoot Na delivery: a novel potential route towards engineering crop soil-salinity tolerance", Prof. Nicholas Harberd, FRS Dept of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford


Sodium (Na) is ubiquitous in soils, and is transported to plant shoots via transpiration through xylem elements in the vascular tissue. However, excess Na is damaging. Accordingly, control of xylem-sap Na concentration is important for maintenance of shoot Na homeostasis, especially under Na stress conditions. I will describe how a combined mutational genetic and genomic approach has enabled us to discover that shoot Na homeostasis of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown in saline soils is conferred by reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulation of xylem-sap Na concentrations. In essence I will show that raised soil-salinity increases the activity of a respiratory burst oxidase protein known as AtrbohF in root vasculature, that this increase in activity in turn increases root vascular ROS levels, and that these increased ROS levels limit the Na concentration of root xylem sap, thus protecting shoot cells from transpiration-dependent delivery of excess Na. This mechanism is conserved in vascular plants (including crop species), and thus provides a potential target for the development of soil-salinity tolerant crop varieties.

Reference: Jiang et al. (2012) EMBO Journal 31, 4359-4370

Speaker information

Professor Nicholas Harberd,FRS Dept of Plant Sciences,University of Oxford

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