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ISRN Molecular Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 927436, 13 pages
Review Article

Ion Transporters and Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants

Plant Protection and Improvement Laboratory, Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS), University of Sfax, P.O. Box 1177, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia

Received 15 March 2012; Accepted 10 April 2012

Academic Editors: M. Greenwood, T. O'Connor, and M. Sekine

Copyright © 2012 Faïçal Brini and Khaled Masmoudi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adaptation of plants to salt stress requires cellular ion homeostasis involving net intracellular Na+ and Cl uptake and subsequent vacuolar compartmentalization without toxic ion accumulation in the cytosol. Sodium ions can enter the cell through several low- and high-affinity K+ carriers. Some members of the HKT family function as sodium transporter and contribute to Na+ removal from the ascending xylem sap and recirculation from the leaves to the roots via the phloem vasculature. Na+ sequestration into the vacuole depends on expression and activity of Na+/H+ antiporter that is driven by electrochemical gradient of protons generated by the vacuolar H+-ATPase and the H+-pyrophosphatase. Sodium extrusion at the root-soil interface is presumed to be of critical importance for the salt tolerance. Thus, a very rapid efflux of Na+ from roots must occur to control net rates of influx. The Na+/H+ antiporter SOS1 localized to the plasma membrane is the only Na+ efflux protein from plants characterized so far. In this paper, we analyze available data related to ion transporters and plant abiotic stress responses in order to enhance our understanding about how salinity and other abiotic stresses affect the most fundamental processes of cellular function which have a substantial impact on plant growth development.