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Chloride as a Beneficial Macronutrient in Higher Plants: New Roles and Regulation

José M. Colmenero-Flores, Juan D. Franco-Navarro, Paloma Cubero-Font, Procopio Peinado-Torrubia, Miguel A. Rosales
Published: 21 September 2019
 by  MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences , Volume 20; doi:10.3390/ijms20194686

Abstract: Chloride (Cl−) has traditionally been considered a micronutrient largely excluded by plants due to its ubiquity and abundance in nature, its antagonism with nitrate (NO3−), and its toxicity when accumulated at high concentrations. In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in this regard since Cl− has gone from being considered a harmful ion, accidentally absorbed through NO3− transporters, to being considered a beneficial macronutrient whose transport is finely regulated by plants. As a beneficial macronutrient, Cl− determines increased fresh and dry biomass, greater leaf expansion, increased elongation of leaf and root cells, improved water relations, higher mesophyll diffusion to CO2, and better water- and nitrogen-use efficiency. While optimal growth of plants requires the synchronic supply of both Cl− and NO3− molecules, the NO3−/Cl− plant selectivity varies between species and varieties, and in the same plant it can be modified by environmental cues such as water deficit or salinity. Recently, new genes encoding transporters mediating Cl− influx (ZmNPF6.4 and ZmNPF6.6), Cl− efflux (AtSLAH3 and AtSLAH1), and Cl− compartmentalization (AtDTX33, AtDTX35, AtALMT4, and GsCLC2) have been identified and characterized. These transporters have proven to be highly relevant for nutrition, long-distance transport and compartmentalization of Cl−, as well as for cell turgor regulation and stress tolerance in plants.
Keywords: stress / water balance / turgor / nitrate / anion channels / Plant nutrition / ion transport / Wue / NUE / Chloride Homeostasis / beneficial macronutrient

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