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Ion transport in plants is not only strictly regulated on a transcriptional level, but it is also regulated posttranslationally. Enzyme modifications such as phosphorylation provide rapid regulation of many plant ion transporters and channels. Upon exposure to high ammonium concentrations in the rhizosphere, the high-affinity ammonium transporters (AMTs) in Arabidopsis thaliana are efficiently inactivated by phosphorylation to avoid toxic accumulation of cytoplasmic ammonium. External ammonium stimulates the phosphorylation of a conserved threonine in the cytosolic AMT1 C terminus, which allosterically inactivates AMT1 trimers. Using a genetic screen, we found that CALCINEURIN B-LIKE INTERACTING PROTEIN KINASE23 (CIPK23), a kinase that also regulates the most abundant NO3- transporter, NPF6;3, and activates the K+ channel AKT1, inhibits ammonium transport and modulates growth sensitivity to ammonium. Loss of CIPK23 increased root NH4+ uptake after ammonium shock and conferred hypersensitivity to ammonium and to the transport analog methylammonium. CIPK23 interacts with AMT1;1 and AMT1;2 in yeast, oocytes, and in planta. Inactivation of AMT1;2 by direct interaction with CIPK23 requires kinase activity and the calcineurin B-like binding protein CBL1. Since K+, NO3-, and NH4+ are major ions taken up by plants, CIPK23 appears to occupy a key position in controlling ion balance and ion homeostasis in the plant cell. © 2017 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


Tatsiana Straub, Uwe Ludewig, Benjamin Neuhäuser. The Kinase CIPK23 Inhibits Ammonium Transport in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant cell. 2017 Feb;29(2):409-422

PMID: 28188265

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