The preference of paddy rice for NH4+ rather than NO3- is associated with its tolerance to low pH since a rhizosphere acidification occurs during NH4+ absorption. However, the adaptation of rice root to low pH has not been fully elucidated. The plasma membrane H+ATPase is a universal electronic H+ pump, which uses ATP as energy source to pump H+ across plasma membranes into the apoplast. The key function of this enzyme is to keep pH homeostasis of plant cells and generate a H+ electrochemical gradient, thereby providing the driving force for the active influx and efflux of ions and metabolites across the plasma membrane. The acclimation of plasma membrane H+ ATPase of rice root to low pH may be partly responsible for the preference of rice plants to NH4+ nutrition.
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