Cloning and functional analysis of the K+ transporter, PhaHAK2, from salt-sensitive and salt-tolerant reed plants

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We isolated PhaHAK2 cDNAs from salt-tolerant and salt-sensitive reed plants. PhaHAK2 belongs to group II by phylogenetic analysis, and was predicted to be a high-affinity plasma membrane K+ transporter. Yeast transformed with the PhaHAK2-u from salt-sensitive reed plants (Phragmites australis) had a decreased ability to take up K+ in the presence of NaCl and showed a higher Na+ permeability than yeast transformed with PhaHAK2-n or PhaHAK2-e from two salt-tolerant reed plants. These results suggest a possibility that the continuous K+ uptake by PhaHAK2 and maintenance of high K+/Na+ ratio under salt stress condition is one of the causes of the salt-tolerance in reed plants.

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