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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jun 5;104(23):9900-5. Epub 2007 May 29.

Zinc finger protein STOP1 is critical for proton tolerance in Arabidopsis and coregulates a key gene in aluminum tolerance.

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BioResources Center, RIKEN, 3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan.


Acid soil syndrome causes severe yield losses in various crop plants because of the rhizotoxicities of ions, such as aluminum (Al(3+)). Although protons (H(+)) could be also major rhizotoxicants in some soil types, molecular mechanisms of their tolerance have not been identified yet. One mutant that was hypersensitive to H(+) rhizotoxicity was isolated from ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenized seeds, and a single recessive mutation was found on chromosome 1. Positional cloning followed by genomic sequence analysis revealed that a missense mutation in the zinc finger domain in a predicted Cys(2)His(2)-type zinc finger protein, namely sensitive to proton rhizotoxicity (STOP)1, is the cause of hypersensitivity to H(+) rhizotoxicity. The STOP1 protein belongs to a functionally unidentified subfamily of zinc finger proteins, which consists of two members in Arabidopsis based on a Blast search. The stop1 mutation resulted in no effects on cadmium, copper, lanthanum, manganese and sodium chloride sensitivitities, whereas it caused hypersensitivity to Al(3+) rhizotoxicity. This stop1 mutant lacked the induction of the AtALMT1 gene encoding a malate transporter, which is concomitant with Al-induced malate exudation. There was no induction of AtALMT1 by Al(3+) treatment in the stop1 mutant. These results indicate that STOP1 plays a critical role in Arabidopsis tolerance to major stress factors in acid soils.

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