Acid Sensor and Calcium Store Discovered in Plants

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When exposed to blue light, the light-gated H+ channel KCR2 kicks into action, c
When exposed to blue light, the light-gated H+ channel KCR2 kicks into action, causing a rapid increase in cytosolic H+ concentration. This heightened H+ level is then detected by a H+-sensitive Ca2+ channel (HSCA), prompting the subsequent opening of its gate for Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum. This chain of events ultimately triggers the opening of SLAC anion channels, leading to stomatal closure. (Image: Huang/Hedrich (JMU))

Using optogenetics, Würzburg researchers have detected a new acid sensor in plant cells that is addressing a cell-internal calcium store, as they report in the journal "Science".

When plants are infected by pathogens, suffer from a lack of water or have to react to other external stimuli, the first thing they do is increase the proton and calcium concentration in the affected cells. The protons and calcium ions then act like messenger substances that trigger further reactions in the cell.

The interactions between protons and calcium ions in this process were previously largely unknown. ...

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