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Plant Cell Physiol. 2013 Jul;54(7):1093-104. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pct064. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Low-pH and aluminum resistance in arabidopsis correlates with high cytosolic magnesium content and increased magnesium uptake by plant roots.

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School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.


Low-pH stress and Al(3+) toxicity affect root growth in acid soils. It was hypothesized that the capacity of genotypes to maintain Mg(2+) uptake in acidic environments may contribute to low-pH and Al resistance, but explicit evidence is lacking. In this work, an Al-resistant alr104 mutant and two Al-sensitive mutants (als5 and als3) of Arabidopsis thaliana were compared with the wild type (Col-0) for Mg(2+) uptake and intracellular Mg(2+) concentration under low-pH and combined low-pH/Al stresses. Magnesium accumulation in roots was measured in long-term (7 d) experiments. The Mg(2+) fluxes were measured using ion-sensitive microelectrodes at the distal elongation and the mature root zones in short-term (0-60 min) experiments. Intracellular Mg(2+) concentrations were measured in intact root cells at the distal elongation zone using magnesium-specific fluorescent dye and fluorescent lifetime imaging (FLIM) analysis. Under low-pH stress, Arabidopsis mutants als5 and alr104 maintained a higher Mg concentration in roots, and had greater Mg(2+) influx than the wild type and the als3 mutant. Under combined low-pH/Al treatment, Al-resistant genotypes (wild type and alr104) maintained a higher Mg(2+) accumulation, and had a higher Mg(2+) influx and higher intracellular Mg(2+) concentration than Al-sensitive genotypes (als3 and als5). Overall, these results show that increased Mg(2+) uptake correlates with an enhanced capacity of Arabidopsis genotypes to cope with low-pH and combined low-pH/Al stresses.


Aluminum toxicity; Arabidopsis thaliana; Intracellular magnesium; Low pH; Magnesium flux

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