The role of the HKT1 gene in sodium exclusion in Grapevine

The role of the HKT1 gene in sodium exclusion in Grapevine

September 10, 2020

In 2017, scientists from PEB and CSIRO focused on the roles of the HKT1 gene family in grapevine that encodes for sodium-selective proteins. Initial research focused on the HKT1;1 allelic variant of the HKT1 gene family, to find if it could potentially have an integral role in sodium exclusion due to correlations found between the inheritance of HKT1;1 alleles and leaf sodium content. This has lead to further research into the roles of the other allelic variants within the HKT1 gene cluster, and whether they may have a role in sodium exclusion.

This new research conducted by researchers at PEB focused on the role of the allelic variants HKT1;6, HKT1;7, and HKT1;8 in Cabernet Sauvignon. Looking at these allelic variants, it was found that although HKT1;6 and HKT1;7 were lowly expressed, they may have minor roles in grapevine sodium homeostasis, while HKT1;8 may be involved in regulating sodium concentration within intracellular organelles.  

Further questions raised from this research could include whether the low expression could be unregulated by the stimuli tested; therefore low expression may only occur under normal conditions. This research also further concluded the importance of the HKT1;1 allele in sodium exclusion and indicated that a non-HKT candidate located within the HKT1 cluster could be worth investigating regarding its role in sodium tolerance.

This research could be of benefit for the many grape-growers facing undesirable environmental conditions of high saline soils and ensure that in the future high-quality berries can still be cultivated despite increasing adverse environmental conditions in Australia.

The published paper can be viewed in the Journal of Plant Physiology.

Filed under: News — Rebecca Vandeleur @ 1:16 pm