Evolutionary Divergence of Plant Borate Exporters and Critical Amino Acid Residues for the Polar Localization and Boron-Dependent Vacuolar Sorting of AtBOR1

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Boron (B) is an essential micronutrient for plants but is toxic when accumulated in excess. The plant BOR family encodes plasma membrane-localized borate exporters (BORs) that control translocation and homeostasis of B under a wide range of conditions. In this study, we examined the evolutionary divergence of BORs among terrestrial plants and showed that the lycophyte Selaginella moellendorffii and angiosperms have evolved two types of BOR (clades I and II). Clade I includes AtBOR1 and homologs previously shown to be involved in efficient transport of B under conditions of limited B availability. AtBOR1 shows polar localization in the plasma membrane and high-B-induced vacuolar sorting, important features for efficient B transport under low-B conditions, and rapid down-regulation to avoid B toxicity. Clade II includes AtBOR4 and barley Bot1 involved in B exclusion for high-B tolerance. We showed, using yeast complementation and B transport assays, that three genes in S. moellendorffii, SmBOR1 in clade I and SmBOR3 and SmBOR4 in clade II, encode functional BORs. Furthermore, amino acid sequence alignments identified an acidic di-leucine motif unique in clade I BORs. Mutational analysis of AtBOR1 revealed that the acidic di-leucine motif is required for the polarity and high-B-induced vacuolar sorting of AtBOR1. Our data clearly indicated that the common ancestor of vascular plants had already acquired two types of BOR for low- and high-B tolerance, and that the BOR family evolved to establish B tolerance in each lineage by adapting to their environments.


  • Plant and Cell Physiology

    Plant and Cell Physiology 56(5), 852-862, 2015-05

    Oxford University Press


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