Calcium-activated K+ channels and calcium-induced calcium release by slow vacuolar ion channels in guard cell vacuoles implicated in the control of stomatal closure.
in Plant Cell, 6, 669–683 – https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.6.5.669 –
Stomatal closing requires the efflux of K+ from the large vacuolar organelle into the cytosol and across the plasma membrane of guard cells. More than 90% of the K+ released from guard cells during stomatal closure originates from the guard cell vacuole.
However, the corresponding molecular mechanisms for the release of K+ from guard cell vacuoles have remained unknown. Rises in the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration have been shown to trigger ion efflux from guard cells, resulting in stomatal closure.
Here, we report a novel type of largely voltage-independent K+-selective ion channel in the vacuolar membrane of guard cells that is activated by physiological increases in the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration. These vacuolar K+ (VK) channels had a single channel conductance of 70 pS with 100 mM KCI on both sides of the membrane and were highly selective for K+ over NH4+ and Rb+. Na+, Li+, and Cs+ were not measurably permeant.
The Ca2+, voltage, and pH dependences, high selectivity for K+, and high density of VK channels in the vacuolar membrane of guard cells suggest a central role for these K+ channels in the initiation and control of K+ release from the vacuole to the cytoplasm required for stomatal closure.
The activation of K+-selective VK channels can shift the vacuolar membrane to more positive potentials on the cytoplasmic side, sufficient to activate previously described slow vacuolar cation channels (SV-type). Analysis of the ionic selectivity of SV channels demonstrated a Ca2+ over K+ selectivity (permeability ratio for Ca2+ to K+ of ~3:1) of these channels in broad bean guard cells and red beet vacuoles, suggesting that SV channels play an important role in Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release from the vacuole during stomatal closure.
A model is presented suggesting that the interaction of VK and SV channel activities is crucial in regulating vacuolar K+ and Ca2+ release during stomatal closure. Furthermore, the possibility that the ubiquitous SV channels may represent a general mechanism for Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release from higher plant vacuoles is discussed.