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 homologues 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.
kiab131_Supplementary_Data – pdf file
*Original abstract online at https://academic.oup.com/plphys/advance-article/doi/10.1093/plphys/kiab131/6179330