Plant Diversity ›› 2014, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (02): 163-176.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201413099

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Plants Adapt to LongTerm Potassium Deficiency by Accumulation of Membrane Lipids in Leaves and Maintenance of Lipid Composition in Roots

 WANG  Dan-Dan-1、2, ZHENG  Guo-Wei-1, LI  Wei-Qi-1、3   

  1. 1 Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
    Kunming 650201, China; 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Biology Department, Honghe University, Mengzi 661100, China
  • Received:2013-04-25 Online:2014-03-25 Published:2013-07-18
  • Supported by:

    The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 30670474, 30870571 and 31070262)


Environmental stresses on plants can be divided into short and longterm types, which may be associated with different adaptation strategies. Adjustment of the composition of membrane lipid is a major response to stress. The membrane lipid composition may different between short and longterm environment stresses. A previous study reported changes in the lipid composition in barley root under shortterm potassium (K+) deficiency; however, the equivalent response of plants to longterm K+ deficiency remains completely unknown. Plants of Arabidopsis thaliana and Crucihimalaya himalaica (Brassicaceae) were grown at four different K+ levels (51,051,0051 and 0mmol·L-1) for 18 days. Physiological and biochemical experiments were conducted on this issue and the results suggest that Chimalaica, a relative of Athaliana, derived from a K+deficient area, is tolerant to K+limited conditions. Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESIMS/MS) was used to determine the lipid changes in Athaliana and Chimalaica subjected to longterm K+ deficiency. The results showed that: (1) the levels of total lipids and most lipid classes in leaves of Athaliana and Chimalaica increased under K+deficient conditions; (2) the changes in lipid content in leaves of Athaliana and Chimalaica were greater than those in the roots; (3) the change in lipid content in leaves of Chimalaica was greater than that in Athaliana, with the opposite trend being shown in the roots and (4) in Athaliana, the increase in phosphatidic acid (PA) corresponded to the decrease in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). This indicates that K+deficiencyinduced PA in Athaliana was derived primarily from PE. Our results suggest that, at the cellular level, plants adapt to longterm K+ deficiency by the accumulation of lipids in leaves and maintenance of the lipid composition in roots.


Key words: Crucihimalaya himalaica, Arabidopsis thaliana, Potassium deficiency tolerance, Membrane lipids

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