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Tonoplast CBL–CIPK calcium signaling network regulates magnesium homeostasis in Arabidopsis


Although Mg(2+) is essential for a myriad of cellular processes, high levels of Mg(2+) in the environment, such as those found in serpentine soils, become toxic to plants. In this study, we identified two calcineurin B-like (CBL) proteins, CBL2 and CBL3, as key regulators for plant growth under high-Mg conditions. The Arabidopsis mutant lacking both CBL2 and CBL3 displayed severe growth retardation in the presence of excess Mg(2+), implying elevated Mg(2+) toxicity in these plants. Unexpectedly, the cbl2 cbl3 mutant plants retained lower Mg content than wild-type plants under either normal or high-Mg conditions, suggesting that CBL2 and CBL3 may be required for vacuolar Mg(2+) sequestration. Indeed, patch-clamp analysis showed that the cbl2 cbl3 mutant exhibited reduced Mg(2+) influx into the vacuole. We further identified four CBL-interacting protein kinases (CIPKs), CIPK3, -9, -23, and -26, as functionally overlapping components downstream of CBL2/3 in the signaling pathway that facilitates Mg(2+) homeostasis. The cipk3 cipk9 cipk23 cipk26 quadruple mutant, like the cbl2 cbl3 double mutant, was hypersensitive to high-Mg conditions; furthermore, CIPK3/9/23/26 physically interacted with CBL2/3 at the vacuolar membrane. Our results thus provide evidence that CBL2/3 and CIPK3/9/23/26 constitute a multivalent interacting network that regulates the vacuolar sequestration of Mg(2+), thereby protecting plants from Mg(2+) toxicity.

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