Halophytes species can be used as a highly convenient model system to reveal key ionic and molecular mechanisms that confer salinity tolerance in plants. Earlier, we reported that quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), a facultative C3 halophyte species, can efficiently control the activity of slow (SV) and fast (FV) tonoplast channels to match specific growth conditions by ensuring that most of accumulated Na+ is safely locked in the vacuole (Bonales-Alatorre et al. (2013) Plant Physiology). This work extends these finding by comparing the properties of tonoplast FV and SV channels in two quinoa genotypes contrasting in their salinity tolerance. The work is complemented by studies of the kinetics of net ion fluxes across the plasma membrane of quinoa leaf mesophyll tissue. Our results suggest that multiple mechanisms contribute towards genotypic differences in salinity tolerance in quinoa. These include: (i) a higher rate of Na+ exclusion from leaf mesophyll; (ii) maintenance of low cytosolic Na+ levels; (iii) better K+ retention in the leaf mesophyll; (iv) a high rate of H+ pumping, which increases the ability of mesophyll cells to restore their membrane potential; and (v) the ability to reduce the activity of SV and FV channels under saline conditions. These mechanisms appear to be highly orchestrated, thus enabling the remarkable overall salinity tolerance of quinoa species.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences (online), 2013, Vol 14, Issue 5, p. 9267-9285