In mature plant cells, up to 90% of the cell volume is occupied by the central vacuole, which represents a storage compartment for proteins, metabolites and ions. Most of the ions that are taken up by plants are stored in the vacuole, but under certain conditions these ions can also be released again. Despite of importance of vacuoles for plant growth and development, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate ion channels in vacuolar membranes.
We have developed a method to study vacuolar ion channels in intact plant cells, with intracellular micro electrodes (Wang et al., 2015, see also Fig. 3). This method is used to characterize the nature of vacuolar ion transporter in intact cells and uncover the molecular mechanism by which these proteins are regulated.