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J Exp Bot. 2014 Jun;65(9):2415-26. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru123. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Ethylene negatively regulates aluminium-induced malate efflux from wheat roots and tobacco cells transformed with TaALMT1.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.
  • 2ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Waite Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China Research Network of Global Change Biology, Beijing Institutes of Life Science, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, P. R. China


An important mechanism for Al(3+) tolerance in wheat is exudation of malate anions from the root apex through activation of malate-permeable TaALMT1 channels. Here, the effect of ethylene on Al(3+)-activated efflux of malate was investigated using Al(3+)-tolerant wheat genotype ET8, which has high expression of TaALMT1. Exposure of ET8 plants to Al(3+) enhanced ethylene evolution in root apices. Treatment with the ethylene synthesis precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) and ethylene gas suppressed Al(3+)-induced malate efflux from root apices, whereas the intracellular malate concentrations in roots were not affected. Malate efflux from root apices was enhanced in the presence of Al(3+) by two antagonists of ethylene biosynthesis, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) and 2-aminoisobutyric acid (AIB). An increase in Al accumulation in root apices was observed when treated with ACC, whereas AVG and AIB suppressed Al accumulation in root apices. Al(3+)-induced inhibition of root elongation was ameliorated by pretreatment with AIB. In addition, ethylene donor (Ethrel) also inhibited Al(3+)-induced malate efflux from tobacco cells transformed with TaALMT1. ACC and the anion-channel blocker niflumate had a similar and non-additive effect on Al-induced malate efflux from root apices. Treatment of ET8 plants with ACC enhanced expression of TaALMT1, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of ethylene on Al-induced malate efflux is unlikely to occur at the transcriptional level. These findings indicate that ethylene may behave as a negative regulator of Al(3+)-induced malate efflux by targeting TaALMT1-mediated malate efflux by an unknown mechanism.

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.


ALMT1; Ethylene; aluminium tolerance; malate efflux; wheat (Triticum aestivum L.).

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