A novel tonoplast Na+/H+ antiporter gene from date palm (PdNHX6) confers enhanced salt tolerance response in Arabidopsis

Ibtisam Al-Harrasi, Gerry Aplang Jana, Himanshu V. Patankar, Rashid Al-Yahyai, Sivamathini Rajappa, Prakash P. Kumar, Mahmoud W. Yaish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Key message: A sodium hydrogen exchanger (NHX) gene from the date palm enhances tolerance to salinity in Arabidopsis plants. Abstract: Plant sodium hydrogen exchangers/antiporters (NHXs) are pivotal regulators of intracellular Na+/K+ and pH homeostasis, which is essential for salt stress adaptation. In this study, a novel orthologue of Na+/H+ antiporter was isolated from date palm (PdNHX6) and functionally characterized in mutant yeast cells and Arabidopsis plants to assess the behavior of the transgenic organisms in response to salinity. Genetically transformed yeast cells with PdNHX6 were sensitive to salt stress when compared to the empty vector (EV) yeast cells. Besides, the acidity value of the vacuoles of the transformant yeast cells has significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased, as indicated by the calibrated fluorescence intensity measurements and the fluorescence imagining analyses. This observation supports the notion that PdNHX6 might regulate proton pumping into the vacuole, a crucial salt tolerance mechanism in the plants. Consistently, the transient overexpression and subcellular localization revealed the accumulation of PdNHX6 in the tonoplast surrounding the central vacuole of Nicotiana benthamiana leaf epidermal cells. Stable overexpression of PdNHX6 in Arabidopsis plants enhanced tolerance to salt stress and retained significantly higher chlorophyll, water contents, and increased seed germination under salinity when compared to the wild-type plants. Despite the significant increase of Na+, transgenic Arabidopsis lines maintained a balanced Na+/K+ ratio under salt stress conditions. Together, the results obtained from this study imply that PdNHX6 is involved in the salt tolerance mechanism in plants by controlling K+ and pH homeostasis of the vacuoles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1093
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Abiotic stress
  • Date palm
  • NHXs
  • pH regulation
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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