, Volume 218, Issue 4, pp 615–622 | Cite as

Cellular and whole-plant chloride dynamics in barley: insights into chloride–nitrogen interactions and salinity responses

  • Dev T. Britto
  • Thomas J. Ruth
  • Suzanne Lapi
  • Herbert J. KronzuckerEmail author
Original Article


The first analysis of chloride fluxes and compartmentation in a non-excised plant system is presented, examining ten ecologically pertinent conditions. The short-lived radiotracer couple 38Cl/39Cl was used as a Cl tracer in intact barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Klondike) seedlings, which were cultured and investigated under four external [Cl], from abundant (0.1 mM) to potentially toxic (100 mM). Chloride–nitrogen interactions were investigated by varying N source (NO3 or NH4 +) and strength (0.1 or 10 mM), in order to examine, at the subcellular compartmentation level, the antagonism, previously documented at the influx level, between Cl and NO3 , and the potential role of Cl as a counterion for NH4 + under conditions in which cytosolic [NH4 +] is excessive. Cytosolic [Cl] increased with external [Cl] from 6 mM to 360 mM. Cl influx, fluxes to vacuole and shoot, and, in particular, efflux to the external medium, also increased along this gradient. Efflux reached 90% of influx at the highest external [Cl]. Half-times of cytosolic Cl exchange decreased between high-affinity and low-affinity influx conditions. The relationship between cytosolic [Cl] and shoot flux indicated the presence of a saturable low-affinity transport system (‘SLATS’) responsible for xylem loading of Cl. N source strongly influenced Cl flux to the vacuole, and moderately influenced Cl influx and shoot flux, whereas efflux and half-time were insensitive to N source. Cytosolic pool sizes were not strongly or consistently influenced by N source, indicating the low potential for Cl to act as a counterion to hyperaccumulating NH4 +. We discuss our results in relation to salinity responses in cereals.


Compartmental analysis Efflux Hordeum Ion transport Salinity Translocation 



cytosolic chloride concentration


external chloride concentration



We thank A.D.M. Glass and J. Dainty for helpful discussion of the manuscript, A.D.M. Glass for the generous provision of laboratory space and equipment, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Resource Council of Canada (NSERC) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dev T. Britto
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Ruth
    • 2
  • Suzanne Lapi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Herbert J. Kronzucker
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Life Sciences, Department of BotanyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF)VancouverCanada
  3. 3.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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