Sodium (Na) is ubiquitous in soils, and is transported to plant shoots via transpiration through xylem elements in the vascular tissue. However, excess Na is damaging. Accordingly, control of xylem-sap Na concentration is important for maintenance of shoot Na homeostasis, especially under Na stress conditions. Here we report that shoot Na homeostasis of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown in saline soils is conferred by reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulation of xylem-sap Na concentrations. We show that lack of A. thaliana respiratory burst oxidase protein F (AtrbohF; an NADPH oxidase catalysing ROS production) causes hypersensitivity of shoots to soil salinity. Lack of AtrbohF-dependent salinity-induced vascular ROS accumulation leads to increased Na concentrations in root vasculature cells and in xylem sap, thus causing delivery of damaging amounts of Na to the shoot. We also show that the excess shoot Na delivery caused by lack of AtrbohF is dependent upon transpiration. We conclude that AtrbohF increases ROS levels in wild-type root vasculature in response to raised soil salinity, thereby limiting Na concentrations in xylem sap, and in turn protecting shoot cells from transpiration-dependent delivery of excess Na.
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