Identification and characterization of plant transporters using heterologous expression systems

Ingo Dreyer*, Christèle Horeau, Guy Lemaillet, Sabine Zimmermann, Daniel R. Bush, Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro, Daniel P. Schachtman, Edgar P. Spalding, Hervé Sentenac, Richard F. Gaber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


In recent years major progress has been achieved in the understanding of transport processes in higher plants. The boom in the field of molecular plant physiology led to the identification and characterization of membrane transporters with transport activities for potassium, calcium, sugars, nitrate, ammonium, sulphate, phosphate, amino acids, peptides, and metal ions. Such progress was hardly feasible without heterologous expression of the isolated transport proteins. This review summarizes the different approaches in characterizing plant membrane transporters using heterologous expression systems. By presenting concrete examples, it outlines different cloning strategies, displays the methods used for (i) expression of transport proteins and detection of their function, (ii) biochemical analyses, (iii) explorations of the structure-function relationship through mutational analysis, and concludes with a discussion about the physiological relevance of the analyses in heterologous expression systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1087
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Cloning strategies
  • Heterologous expression systems
  • Membrane transporters
  • Transport processes
  • Transport proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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