An aluminum-activated citrate transporter in barley.

Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Chuo, Kurashiki, Okayama, 710-0046, Japan.
Plant and Cell Physiology (Impact Factor: 4.98). 09/2007; 48(8):1081-91. DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcm091
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Soluble ionic aluminum (Al) inhibits root growth and reduces crop production on acid soils. Al-resistant cultivars of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) detoxify Al by secreting citrate from the roots, but the responsible gene has not been identified yet. Here, we identified a gene (HvAACT1) responsible for the Al-activated citrate secretion by fine mapping combined with microarray analysis, using an Al-resistant cultivar, Murasakimochi, and an Al-sensitive cultivar, Morex. This gene belongs to the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family and was constitutively expressed mainly in the roots of the Al-resistant barley cultivar. Heterologous expression of HvAACT1 in Xenopus oocytes showed efflux activity for (14)C-labeled citrate, but not for malate. Two-electrode voltage clamp analysis also showed transport activity of citrate in the HvAACT1-expressing oocytes in the presence of Al. Overexpression of this gene in tobacco enhanced citrate secretion and Al resistance compared with the wild-type plants. Transiently expressed green fluorescent protein-tagged HvAACT1 was localized at the plasma membrane of the onion epidermal cells, and immunostaining showed that HvAACT1 was localized in the epidermal cells of the barley root tips. A good correlation was found between the expression of HvAACT1 and citrate secretion in 10 barley cultivars differing in Al resistance. Taken together, our results demonstrate that HvAACT1 is an Al-activated citrate transporter responsible for Al resistance in barley.

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