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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase grain zinc concentration and modify the expression of root ZIP transporter genes in a modern barley (Hordeum vulgare) cultivar

Watts-Williams, Stephanie J., Cavagnaro, Timothy R.
Plant science 2018 v.274 pp. 163-170
Hordeum vulgare, Rhizophagus irregularis, barley, biomass, cultivars, gene expression regulation, genes, mycorrhizal fungi, nutrient deficiencies, roots, soil, straw, toxicity, transporters, zinc
The positive effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the zinc (Zn) nutrition of a number of cereal species has been demonstrated, but for Hordeum vulgare (barley), this has been scarcely investigated. Zn is taken up by ZIP transporters in the roots, and several barley ZIP transporter genes are up-regulated under Zn deficient conditions.We grew a modern cultivar of barley (cv. Compass) at five different soil Zn concentrations ranging from no addition through to a toxic concentration. The plants were either inoculated with the AMF Rhizophagus irregularis, or mock-inoculated. At harvest, measurements of biomass, tissue Zn concentration, and expression of ZIP transporter genes were taken.Inoculation of barley with AMF resulted in improved grain and straw Zn concentrations, especially at low soil Zn concentrations, but did not increase the biomass of the plants. Of the five HvZIP genes tested that are up-regulated under low Zn conditions, one gene (HvZIP13) was significantly up-regulated by mycorrhizal colonisation at the lowest Zn treatment. Two other ZIP genes were down-regulated in mycorrhizal plants under low soil Zn.Inoculation with AMF has an effect on ZIP transporter genes in the roots of barley plants. Furthermore, AMF may be more useful for improving quality of barley grain in terms of Zn concentrations, rather than improving yield.