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Title: The fluoride transporter FLUORIDE EXPORTER (FEX) is the major mechanism of tolerance to fluoride toxicity in plants1
Abstract Fluoride is everywhere in the environment, yet it is toxic to living things. How biological organisms detoxify fluoride has been unknown until recently. Fluoride-specific ion transporters in both prokaryotes (Fluoride channel; Fluc) and fungi (Fluoride Exporter; FEX) efficiently export fluoride to the extracellular environment. FEX homologs have been identified throughout the plant kingdom. Understanding the function of FEX in a multicellular organism will reveal valuable knowledge about reducing toxic effects caused by fluoride. Here, we demonstrate the conserved role of plant FEX (FLUORIDE EXPORTER) in conferring fluoride tolerance. Plant FEX facilitates the efflux of toxic fluoride ions from yeast cells and is required for fluoride tolerance in plants. A CRISPR/Cas9-generated mutation in Arabidopsis thaliana FEX renders the plant vulnerable to low concentrations (100-µM) of fluoride at every stage of development. Pollen is particularly affected, failing to develop even at extremely low levels of fluoride in the growth medium. The action of the FEX membrane transport protein is the major fluoride defense mechanism in plants.
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Plant Physiology
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National Science Foundation
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