Salinity tolerance of two potato cultivars (Solanum tuberosum) correlates with differences in vacuolar transport activity

Rinse Jaarsma*, Albertus H. de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Potato is an important cultivated crop species and since it is moderately salt sensitive there is a need to develop more salt tolerant cultivars. A high activity of Na+ transport across the tonoplast in exchange for H+ is essential to reduce Na+ toxicity. The proton motive force (PMF) generated by the V-H+-ATPase and the V-H+-PPase energizes the Na+ (K+)/H+ antiport. We compared the activity, gene expression, and protein levels of the vacuolar proton pumps and the Na+ /H+ antiporters in two potato cultivars (Solanum tuberosum) contrasting in their salt tolerance (cv. Desiree; tolerant and Mozart; sensitive) grown at 0 and 60 mM NaCl. Tonoplast-enriched vesicles were used to study the pump activity and protein levels of the V-H+-ATPase and the V-H+-PPase and the activity of the Na+ /H+ antiporter. Although salt stress reduced the V-H+-ATPase and the V-H+-PPase activity in both cultivars, the decline in H+ pump activity was more severe in the salt-sensitive cultivar Mozart. After salt treatment, protein amounts of the vacuolar H+ pumps decreased in Mozart but remained unchanged in the cultivar Desiree. Decreased protein amounts of the V-H+-PPase found in Mozart may explain the reduced V-H+-PPase activity found for Mozart after salt stress. Under non-stress conditions, protein amounts of V-H+-PPase were equal in both cultivars while the V-H+-PPase activity was already twice as high and remained higher after salt treatment in the cultivar Desiree as compared to Mozart. This cultivar-dependent V-H+-PPase activity may explain the higher salt tolerance of Desiree. Moreover, combined with reduced vacuolar H+ pump activity, Mozart showed a lower Na+ /H+ exchange activity and the Km for Na+ is at least twofold lower in tonoplast vesicles from Desiree, what suggests that NHXs from Desiree have a higher affinity for Na+ as compared to Mozart. From these results, we conclude that the higher capacity in combination with the higher affinity for Na+ uptake can be an important factor to explain the differences in salt tolerance of these two potato cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2018


This study was supported by a grant from STW, Netherlands (Grant No. 07912).

FundersFunder number
Stichting voor de Technische Wetenschappen07912


    • Na /H antiporters
    • Na /H exchange
    • Potato
    • Salt tolerance
    • Tonoplast vesicles
    • Vacuolar H-ATPase
    • Vacuolar H-PPase
    • Vacuolar proton transport


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