Cytosolic Nucleotides Block and Regulate the Arabidopsis Vacuolar Anion Channel AtALMT9 [Plant Biology]

July 15th, 2014 by Zhang, J., Martinoia, E., De Angeli, A.

The ALuminum Activated Malate Transporters ,ALMTs, form a membrane protein family exhibiting different physiological roles in plants, varying from conferring tolerance to environmental Al3+ to the regulation of stomatal movement. The regulation of the anion channels of the ALMT family is largely unknown. Identifying intracellular modulators of the activity of anion channels is fundamental to understand their physiological functions. In this study we investigated the role of cytosolic nucleotides in regulating the activity of the vacuolar anion channel AtALMT9. We found that cytosolic nucleotides modulate the transport activity of AtALMT9. This modulation was based on a direct block of the channels pore at negative membrane potentials by the nucleotide and not by a phosphorylation mechanism. The block by nucleotides of AtALMT9 mediated currents was voltage depend. The blocking efficiency of intracellular nucleotides increased with the number of phosphate groups and ATP was the most effective cellular blocker. Interestingly, the ATP block induced a marked modification of the current-voltage characteristic of AtALMT9. In addition, increased concentrations of vacuolar anions were able to shift the ATP block threshold to more negative membrane potential. The block of AtALMT9 mediated anion currents by ATP at negative membrane potentials acts as a gate of the channel and vacuolar anion tune this gating mechanism.. Our results suggest that anion transport across the vacuolar membrane in plant cells is controlled by cytosolic nucleotides and the energetic status of the cell.