Time courses of cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH changes under salt stress were monitored by in vivo31P-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in intact cells of Nitellopsis obtusa. When cells were treated with 100 millimolar NaCl for 2 hours, the cytoplasmic pH deceased from 7.2 to 7.0, while the vacuolar pH increased from 4.9 to 5.2. This salt-induced breakdown of the pH gradient between the cytoplasm and the vacuole was also confirmed through direct measurements of change in vacuolar pH with a micro-pH electrode. We speculate that the intracellular pH changes induced by the salt stress mainly results from the inhibition of the H+-translocating pyrophosphatase in the vacuolar membrane, since this H+-translocating system is sensitive to salt-induced increase in the cytoplasmic [Na+] and a simultaneous decrease in the cytoplasmic [K+]. Since disturbance of the cytoplasmic pH value should have serious consequences on the homeostasis of living cells, we propose that the salt-induced intracellular pH changes are one of initial and important steps that lead to cell death.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science