Silver ions increase plasma membrane permeability through modulation of intracellular calcium levels in tobacco BY-2 cells

  • Petr Klíma
  • Martina Laňková
  • Filip Vandenbussche
  • Dominique Van Der Straeten
  • Jan Petrášek
Original Article


Key message

Silver ions increase plasma membrane permeability for water and small organic compounds through their stimulatory effect on plasma membrane calcium channels, with subsequent modulation of intracellular calcium levels and ion homeostasis.


The action of silver ions at the plant plasma membrane is largely connected with the inhibition of ethylene signalling thanks to the ability of silver ion to replace the copper cofactor in the ethylene receptor. A link coupling the action of silver ions and cellular auxin efflux has been suggested earlier by their possible direct interaction with auxin efflux carriers or by influencing plasma membrane permeability. Using tobacco BY-2 cells, we demonstrate here that besides a dramatic increase of efflux of synthetic auxins 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), treatment with AgNO3 resulted in enhanced efflux of the cytokinin trans-zeatin (tZ) as well as the auxin structural analogues tryptophan (Trp) and benzoic acid (BA). The application of AgNO3 was accompanied by gradual water loss and plasmolysis. The observed effects were dependent on the availability of extracellular calcium ions (Ca2+) as shown by comparison of transport assays in Ca2+-rich and Ca2+-free buffers and upon treatment with inhibitors of plasma membrane Ca2+-permeable channels Al3+ and ruthenium red, both abolishing the effect of AgNO3. Confocal microscopy of Ca2+-sensitive fluorescence indicator Fluo-4FF, acetoxymethyl (AM) ester suggested that the extracellular Ca2+ availability is necessary to trigger the response to silver ions and that the intracellular Ca2+ pool alone is not sufficient for this effect. Altogether, our data suggest that in plant cells the effects of silver ions originate from the primal modification of the internal calcium levels, possibly by their interaction with Ca2+-permeable channels at the plasma membrane.


Silver ions Calcium Tobacco BY-2 cells Transmembrane transport Ethylene Auxin 



The work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of Czech Republic, Project MSM/LO1417 (JP), Czech Science Foundation Project GA16-10948S (PK, ML, JP) and by a grant from Ghent University (Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds, Bilateral Cooperation, BILA-06) to DVDS. FV was a post-doctoral fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research—Flanders (FWO). IEB Imaging Facility is supported by Operational Programme Prague—Competitiveness, Project No. CZ.2.16/3.1.00/21519. The authors would like to thank Dr. Edita Tylová for her critical reading of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

299_2018_2269_MOESM1_ESM.docx (182 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 181 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Hormonal Regulations in PlantsInstitute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of SciencesPrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology, Department of BiologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Experimental Plant Biology, Faculty of ScienceCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic

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