A web-accessible computer program for calculating electrical potentials and ion activities at cell-membrane surfaces

Abstract

Increasing evidence indicates that plant responses to ions (uptake/transport, inhibition, and alleviation of inhibition) are dependent upon ion activities at the outer surface of root-cell plasma membranes (PMs) rather than activities in the bulk-phase rooting medium. A web-accessible computer program was written to calculate the electrical potential (ψ) at the outer surface of root-cell PMs (ψ PM). From these values of ψ PM, activities of ion I with charge Z ({I Z}) can be calculated for the outer surface of the PM ({I Z}PM). In addition, ψ and {I Z} in the Donnan phase of the cell walls (ψ CW and {I Z}CW) can be calculated. By reanalysing published data, we illustrate how this computer program can assist in the investigation of plant-ion interactions. For example, we demonstrate that in saline solutions, both Ca deficiency and Na uptake are more closely related to {Ca2+}PM and {Na+}PM than to {Ca2+}b and {Na+}b (activities in the bulk-phase media). Additional examples are given for Zn and P nutrition, Ni toxicity, and arsenate uptake. The computer program presented here should assist others to develop an electrostatic view of plant-ion interactions and to re-evaluate some commonly-held views regarding mechanisms of ion transport, toxicity, competition among ions, and other phenomena.

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1948-x

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@article{Kopittke2013AWC, title={A web-accessible computer program for calculating electrical potentials and ion activities at cell-membrane surfaces}, author={Peter M. Kopittke and Peng Wang and Neal W. Menzies and Ravi Naidu and Thomas B. Kinraide}, journal={Plant and Soil}, year={2013}, volume={375}, pages={35-46} }