Fluoride Action Network


The xenobiotic fluoride is a detrimental toxin which is exported by a double-barrelled fluoride channel (Fluc) in prokaryotes and a single-barrelled fluoride exporter (FEX) in lower eukaryotes. The presence of FEX gene in higher plant species has not been reported till date. In this communication, we have identified FEXs across nine plant species belonging to five different families. Homology modelling predicted the sequential and structural conservation of crucial residues in plant FEXs. It was predicted that the N-terminal segments were the main target sites for phosphorylation. Other post-translational modifications included Arg methylation, Lys acetylation and Cys S-nitrosylation, all of which contribute to protein stability and function. FEXs were predicted to contain lipid moieties which anchor the transporters to the plasma membrane. The crystallizability along with associated properties of plant FEXs was also analyzed to facilitate future experimental analyses. The predicted RNA structure of OsFEX formed several pseudoknots, though no riboswitches could be detected from our prediction. The analysis of upstream regions of FEX in representative plants represented that this gene could be responsive to phytohormone-mediated signaling. This is the first novel report highlighting that FEX genes in plants are probably expressed in a tissue-specific pattern and possibly via a phytohormone-dependent pathway to encode functional FEX proteins during fluoride stress.