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Plant Physiol. 2008 Feb;146(2):762-71. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Altered profile of secondary metabolites in the root exudates of Arabidopsis ATP-binding cassette transporter mutants.

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  • 1Center for Rhizosphere Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.


Following recent indirect evidence suggesting a role for ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in root exudation of phytochemicals, we identified 25 ABC transporter genes highly expressed in the root cells most likely to be involved in secretion processes. Of these 25 genes, we also selected six full-length ABC transporters and a half-size transporter for in-depth molecular and biochemical analyses. We compared the exuded root phytochemical profiles of these seven ABC transporter mutants to those of the wild type. There were three nonpolar phytochemicals missing in various ABC transporter mutants compared to the wild type when the samples were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. These data suggest that more than one ABC transporter can be involved in the secretion of a given phytochemical and that a transporter can be involved in the secretion of more than one secondary metabolite. The primary and secondary metabolites present in the root exudates of the mutants were also analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, which allowed for the identification of groups of compounds differentially found in some of the mutants compared to the wild type. For instance, the mutant Atpdr6 secreted a lower level of organic acids and Atmrp2 secreted a higher level of amino acids as compared to the wild type. We conclude that the release of phytochemicals by roots is partially controlled by ABC transporters.

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