Genetic Analysis of Salt Tolerance in Arabidopsis: Evidence for a Critical Role of Potassium Nutrition

Jian Kang Zhu*, Jiping Liu, Liming Xiong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

580 Citations (Scopus)


A large genetic screen for sos (for salt overly sensitive) mutants was performed in an attempt to isolate mutations in any gene with an sos phenotype. Our search yielded 28 new alleles of sos1, nine mutant alleles of a newly identified locus, SOS2, and one allele of a third salt tolerance locus, SOS3. The sos2 mutations, which are recessive, were mapped to the lower arm of chromosome V, ~2.3 centimorgans away from the marker PHYC. Growth measurements demonstrated that sos2 mutants are specifically hypersensitive to inhibition by Na+ or Li+ and not hypersensitive to general osmotic stresses. Interestingly, the SOS2 locus is also necessary for K+ nutrition because sos2 mutants were unable to grow on a culture medium with a low level of K+. The expression of several salt-inducible genes was superinduced in sos2 plants. The salt tolerance of sos1, sos2, and sos3 mutants correlated with their K+ tissue content but not their Na+ tissue content. Double mutant analysis indicated that the SOS genes function in the same pathway. Based on these results, a genetic model for salt tolerance mechanisms in Arabidopsis is presented in which SOS1, SOS2, and SOS3 are postulated to encode regulatory components controlling plant K+ nutrition that in turn is essential for salt tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1191
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic Analysis of Salt Tolerance in Arabidopsis: Evidence for a Critical Role of Potassium Nutrition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this