Physiological roles of nonselective cation channels in plants: from salt stress to signalling and development


Author for correspondence: Vadim Demidchik Tel: +44 1206873322 Fax: +44 1206872592 Email:



Nonselective cation channels (NSCCs) catalyse passive fluxes of cations through plant membranes. NSCCs do not, or only to a small extent, select between monovalent cations, and several are also permeable to divalent cations. Although a number of NSCC genes has been identified in plant genomes, a direct correlation between gene products and in vivo observed currents is still largely absent for most NSCCs. In this review, physiological functions and molecular properties of NSCCs are critically discussed. Recent studies have demonstrated that NSCCs are directly involved in a multitude of stress responses, growth and development, uptake of nutrients and calcium signalling. NSCCs can also function in the perception of external stimuli and as signal transducers for reactive oxygen species, pathogen elicitors, cyclic nucleotides, membrane stretch, amino acids and purines.


  • Summary 387

  • I. Introduction 388
  • II. Constitutive plasma membrane NSCCs 389
  • III. NSCCs activated by reactive oxygen species (ROS-NSCCs) 392
  • IV. Cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGCs) 393
  • V. Amino acid-gated NSCCs 395
  • VI. Purine signalling 396
  • VII. Mechanosensitive ion channels 396
  • VIII. Vacuolar NSCCs 396
  • IX. Cation channels sensitive to elicitors 397
  • X. NSCCs acting in concert 398
  • XI. Conclusions and perspectives 398
  • References 400