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Nitric oxide regulation of calcium channels and signalling

NO acts a signalling agent in both animal and plant cells, elevating cytosolic free Ca2+ as a second messenger (1,2). In animals, NO is involved in neurotransmission, inflammation and muscle function. A range of animal cation channel proteins are regulated by NO (through nitrosylation) to facilitate Ca2+ flux. These include voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and ryanodine receptors. In plants, NO is involved in gas exchange, pollen tube and root growth, drought and thermotolerance plus defence against pathogens. The molecular identity of NO-regulated plant Ca2+ channels remains largely unknown and to date, the effects of NO on root Ca2+ channels has not been reported. In this study, the effects of NO on the activity of the Arabidopsis root plasma membrane Ca2+ channels we have previously characterised will be tested (3-5). Additionally, channels identified from nitrosylation studies will provide the entry route into discovering their molecular identity. Measuring changes in cytosolic free Ca2+ in loss of function mutants will enable cellular context to be established.

  1. Besson-Bard et al. (2008) Annual Review of Plant Biology 59, 21
  2. Hess et al. (2005) Nature Reviews of Molecular Cell Biology 6, 150
  3. Demidchik et al. (2002) Plant Journal Journal 32, 799
  4. Foreman et al. (2003) Nature 422, 442
  5. Demidchik et al. (2007) Plant Journal 49, 377