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Isolation and Characterization of an Aluminum-resistant Mutant in Rice

Liu, Shuo, Gao, Huiling, Wu, Xiaoyan, Fang, Qiu, Chen, Lan, Zhao, Fang-Jie, Huang, Chao-Feng
Rice 2016 v.9 no.1 pp. 60
acid soils, aluminum, aminoethoxyvinylglycine, cadmium, cell growth, chromosomes, crop production, dose response, ethylene, ethylene production, genetic analysis, mutants, phenotype, recessive genes, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rice, root tips, sap, screening, toxicity
BACKGROUND: Aluminum (Al) toxicity represents a major constraint for crop production on acid soils. Rice is a high Al-resistant plant species among small-grain cereals, but its molecular mechanisms of Al resistance are not fully understood. We adopted a forward genetic screen strategy to uncover the Al-resistance mechanisms in rice. In this study, we screened an ethylmethylsulfone (EMS)-mutagenized library to isolate and characterize mutants with altered sensitivity to Al in rice. RESULTS: Treatment of an Al-intolerant indica variety Kasalath with 20 μM Al induced root swelling. This phenotype could be suppressed by the addition of aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG, an ethylene synthesis inhibitor), suggesting that increased production of ethylene is responsible for the root swelling under Al stress. By utilizing the root swelling as an indicator, we developed a highly effective method to screen Al-sensitive or -resistant mutants in rice. Through screening of ~5000 M2 lines, we identified 10 Al-sensitive mutants and one Al-resistant mutant ral1 (resistance to aluminum 1). ral1 mutant showed short root phenotype under normal growth condition, which was attributed to reduced cell elongation in the mutant. A dose-response experiment revealed that ral1 mutant was more resistant to Al than wild-type (WT) at all Al concentrations tested. The mutant was also more resistant to Al when grown in an acid soil. The mutant accumulated much lower Al in the root tips (0–1 cm) than WT. The mutant contained less Al in the cell wall of root tips than WT, whereas Al concentration in the cell sap was similar between WT and the mutant. In addition to Al, the mutant was also more resistant to Cd than WT. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the expression levels of known Al-resistance genes were not increased in the mutant compared to WT. Genetic analysis indicated that the Al-resistance phenotype in ral1 mutant was controlled by a single recessive gene mapped on the long arm of chromosome 6. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a highly efficient method for the screening of rice mutants with altered Al sensitivity. We identified a novel mutant ral1 resistant to Al by this screening. The increased resistance of ral1 to Al toxicity is caused by the reduced Al binding to the cell wall of root tips and the responsible gene is mapped on the long arm of chromosome 6.