Ion transport, membrane traffic and cellular volume control

Grefen, C., Honsbein, A. and Blatt, M.R. (2011) Ion transport, membrane traffic and cellular volume control. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 14(3), pp. 332-339. (doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2011.03.017)

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Throughout their development, plants balance cell surface area and volume with ion transport and turgor. This balance lies at the core of cellular homeostatic networks and is central to the capacity to withstand abiotic as well as biotic stress. Remarkably, very little is known of its mechanics, notably how membrane traffic is coupled with osmotic solute transport and its control. Here we outline recent developments in the understanding of so-called SNARE proteins that form part of the machinery for membrane vesicle traffic in all eukaryotes. We focus on SNAREs active at the plasma membrane and the evidence for specialisation in enhanced, homeostatic and stress-related traffic. Recent studies have placed a canonical SNARE complex associated with the plasma membrane in pathogen defense, and the discovery of the first SNARE as a binding partner with ion channels has demonstrated a fundamental link to inorganic osmotic solute uptake. Work localising the channel binding site has now identified a new and previously uncharacterised motif, yielding important clues to a plausible mechanism coupling traffic and transport. We examine the evidence that this physical interaction serves to balance enhanced osmotic solute uptake with membrane expansion through mutual control of the two processes. We calculate that even during rapid cell expansion only a minute fraction of SNAREs present at the membrane need be engaged in vesicle traffic at any one time, a number surprisingly close to the known density of ion channels at the plant plasma membrane. Finally, we suggest a framework of alternative models coupling transport and traffic, and approachable through direct, experimental testing

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Blatt, Professor Michael and Grefen, Dr Christopher and Honsbein, Dr Annegret
Authors: Grefen, C., Honsbein, A., and Blatt, M.R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Molecular Biosciences
Journal Name:Current Opinion in Plant Biology

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