Stomatal closure via nitrate-regulated SLAC1 anion channel


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Date palm

The desert plant Phoenix dactylifera closes stomata via nitrate-regulated SLAC1 anion channel

Müller H. M., Schäfer N., Bauer H., Geiger D., Lautner S., Fromm J., Riederer M., Bueno A., Nussbaumer T., Mayer K., Alquraishi S. A., Alfarhan A. H., Neher E., Al-Rasheid K. A. S., Ache P., Hedrich R. (2017)

Heike M. Müller, Nadine Schäfer, Hubert Bauer, Dietmar Geiger, Silke Lautner, Jörg Fromm, Markus Riederer, Amauri Bueno, Thomas Nussbaumer, Klaus Mayer, Saleh A. Alquraishi, Ahmed H. Alfarhan, Erwin Neher, Khaled A. S. Al-Rasheid, Peter Ache, Rainer Hedrich

in New Phytol. – DOI: 10.1111/nph.14672 –;jsessionid=BD1807D23AC06ED98EACF0EDC014E1DF.f03t03


  • Date palm Phoenix dactylifera is a desert crop well adapted to survive and produce fruits under extreme drought and heat. How are palms under such harsh environmental conditions able to limit transpirational water loss?
  • Here, we analysed the cuticular waxes, stomata structure and function, and molecular biology of guard cells from P. dactylifera.
  • To understand the stomatal response to the water stress phytohormone of the desert plant, we cloned the major elements necessary for guard cell fast abscisic acid (ABA) signalling and reconstituted this ABA signalosome in Xenopus oocytes. The PhoenixSLAC1-type anion channel is regulated by ABA kinase PdOST1. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) demonstrated that date palm guard cells release chloride during stomatal closure. However, in Cl medium, PdOST1 did not activate the desert plant anion channel PdSLAC1 per se. Only when nitrate was present at the extracellular face of the anion channel did the OST1-gated PdSLAC1 open, thus enabling chloride release. In the presence of nitrate, ABA enhanced and accelerated stomatal closure.
  • Our findings indicate that, in date palm, the guard cell osmotic motor driving stomatal closure uses nitrate as the signal to open the major anion channel SLAC1. This initiates guard cell depolarization and the release of anions together with potassium.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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