Tomato roots have a functional silicon influx transporter but not a functional silicon efflux transporter

Hao Sun, Yaoke Duan, Namiki Mitani-Ueno, Jing Che, Jianhua Jia, Jiaqi Liu, Jia Guo, Jian Feng Ma, Haijun Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Silicon (Si) accumulation in shoots differs greatly with plant species, but the molecular mechanisms for this interspecific difference are unknown. Here, we isolated homologous genes of rice Si influx (SlLsi1) and efflux (SlLsi2) transporter genes in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and functionally characterized these genes. SlLsi1 showed transport activity for Si when expressed in both rice lsi1 mutant and Xenopus laevis oocytes. SlLsi1 was constitutively expressed in the roots. Immunostaining showed that SlLsi1 was localized at the plasma membrane of both root tip and basal region without polarity. Furthermore, overexpression of SlLsi1 in tomato increased Si concentration in the roots and root cell sap but did not alter the Si concentration in the shoots. By contrast, two Lsi2-like proteins did not show efflux transport activity for Si in Xenopus oocytes. However, when functional CsLsi2 from cucumber was expressed in tomato, the Si uptake was significantly increased, resulting in higher Si accumulation in the leaves and enhanced tolerance of the leaves to water deficit and high temperature. Our results suggest that the low Si accumulation in tomato is attributed to the lack of functional Si efflux transporter Lsi2 required for active Si uptake although SlLsi1 is functional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-744
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Cell and Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2020


  • accumulation
  • efflux transporter
  • influx transporter
  • silicon
  • tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)
  • uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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