Chloride on the Move

Chloride (Cl−) is an essential plant nutrient but under saline conditions it can accumulate to toxic levels in leaves; limiting this accumulation improves the salt tolerance of some crops. The rate-limiting step for this process – the transfer of Cl− from root symplast to xylem apoplast, which can antagonize delivery of the macronutrient nitrate (NO3−) to shoots – is regulated by abscisic acid (ABA) and is multigenic. Until recently the molecular mechanisms underpinning this salt-tolerance trait were poorly defined. We discuss here how recent advances highlight the role of newly identified transport proteins, some that directly transfer Cl− into the xylem, and others that act on endomembranes in ‘gatekeeper’ cell types in the root stele to control root-to-shoot delivery of Cl−.

Li B, Tester M, Gilliham M (2017) Chloride on the Move. Trends in Plant Science. Available:

The authors thank the Australian Research Council (ARC) for funding M.G. through FT130100709 and CE140100008, and M.T. through DP1095542; the Grains Research and Development Corporation (Australia) for funding M.T. through UA00118 and M.G. through UA00145; and Wine Australia and the Waite Research Institute for funding M.G. Financial support to M.T. from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is also gratefully acknowledged.

Elsevier BV

Trends in Plant Science


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