OsCHX14 is Involved in the K+ Homeostasis in Rice (Oryza sativa) Flowers

Previously we showed in the osjar1 mutants that the lodicule senescence which controls the closing of rice flowers was delayed. This resulted in florets staying open longer when compared with the wild type. The gene OsJAR1 is silenced in osjar1 mutants and is a key member of the jasmonic acid (JA) signaling pathway. We found that K concentrations in lodicules and flowers of osjar1-2 were significantly elevated compared with the wild type, indicating that K+ homeostasis may play a role in regulating the closure of rice flowers. The cation/H+ exchanger (CHX) family from rice was screened for potential K+ transporters involved as many members of this family in Arabidopsis were exclusively or preferentially expressed in flowers. Expression profiling confirmed that among 17 CHX genes in rice, OsCHX14 was the only member that showed an expression polymorphism, not only in osjar1 mutants but also in RNAi (RNA interference) lines of OsCOI1, another key member of the JA signaling pathway. This suggests that the expression of OsCHX14 is regulated by the JA signaling pathway. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged OsCHX14 protein was preferentially localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. Promoter–β-glucuronidase (GUS) analysis of transgenic rice revealed that OsCHX14 is mainly expressed in lodicules and the region close by throughout the flowering process. Characterization in yeast and Xenopus laevis oocytes verified that OsCHX14 is able to transport K+, Rb+ and Cs+ in vivo. Our data suggest that OsCHX14 may play an important role in K+ homeostasis during flowering in rice.