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Plant Physiol. 2000 Mar;122(3):945-56.

Genotypical differences in aluminum resistance of maize are expressed in the distal part of the transition zone. Is reduced basipetal auxin flow involved in inhibition of root elongation by aluminum?

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  • 1Institute of Plant Nutrition, University of Hannover, Herrenhäuser Strasse 2, D-30419 Hannover, Germany.


Short-term Al treatment (90 microM Al at pH 4.5 for 1 h) of the distal transition zone (DTZ; 1-2 mm from the root tip), which does not contribute significantly to root elongation, inhibited root elongation in the main elongation zone (EZ; 2.5-5 mm from the root tip) to the same extent as treatment of the entire maize (Zea mays) root apex. Application of Al to the EZ had no effect on root elongation. Higher genotypical resistance to Al applied to the entire root apex, and specifically to the DTZ, was expressed by less inhibition of root elongation, Al accumulation, and Al-induced callose formation, primarily in the DTZ. A characteristic pH profile along the surface of the root apex with a maximum of pH 5.3 in the DTZ was demonstrated. Al application induced a substantial flattening of the pH profile moreso in the Al-sensitive than in the Al-resistant cultivar. Application of indole-3-acetic acid to the EZ but not to the meristematic zone significantly alleviated the inhibition of root elongation induced by the application of Al to the DTZ. Basipetal transport of exogenously applied [(3)H]indole-3-acetic acid to the meristematic zone was significantly inhibited by Al application to the DTZ in the Al-sensitive maize cv Lixis. Our results provide evidence that the primary mechanisms of genotypical differences in Al resistance are located within the DTZ, and suggest a signaling pathway in the root apex mediating the Al signal between the DTZ and the EZ through basipetal auxin transport.

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