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Plant Physiol. 2001 May;126(1):411-20.

Possible involvement of protein phosphorylation in aluminum-responsive malate efflux from wheat root apex.

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Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, 2-20-1 Chuo, Kurashiki 710-0046, Japan.


In many plants, efflux of organic anions from roots has been proposed as one of the major Al resistance mechanisms. However it remains unknown how plants regulate efflux of organic anions in response to Al. In this study, the regulatory mechanisms of Al-responsive malate efflux in wheat (Triticum aestivum) were characterized focusing on the role of protein phosphorylation. Al-resistant wheat (cv Atlas) initiated malate efflux at 5 min after addition of Al, and this response was sensitive to temperature. K-252a, a broad range inhibitor of protein kinases, effectively blocked the Al-induced malate efflux accompanied with an increased accumulation of Al and intensified Al-induced root growth inhibition. A transient activation of a 48-kD protein kinase and an irreversible repression of a 42-kD protein kinase were observed preceding the initiation of malate efflux, and these changes were canceled by K-252a. Malate efflux was accompanied with a rapid decrease in the contents of organic anions in the root apex, such as citrate, succinate, and malate but with no change in the contents of inorganic anions such as chloride, nitrate, and phosphate. These results suggest that protein phosphorylation is involved in the Al-responsive malate efflux in the wheat root apex and that the organic anion-specific channel might be a terminal target that responds to Al signaling mediated by phosphorylation.

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