Aluminium stress-induced modulation of root gravitropism in pea (Pisum sativum) via auxin signalling

Hui Wang, Huayang Wang, Houzhou Liu, Tao Wan, Yalin Li, Ketong Zhang, Sergey Shabala, Xuewen Li, Yinglong Chen, Min Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aluminium (Al) toxicity stands out as a primary cause of crop failure in acidic soils. The root gravity setpoint angle (GSA), one of the important traits of the root system architecture (RSA), plays a pivotal role in enabling plants to adapt to abiotic stress. This study explored the correlation between GSA and Al stress using hydroponic culture with pea (Pisum sativum) plants. The findings revealed that under Al stress, GSA increased in newly developed lateral roots. Notably, this response remained consistent regardless of the treatment duration, extending for at least 3 days during the experiment. Furthermore, exposure to Al led to a reduction in both the size and quantity of starch granules, pivotal components linked to gravity perception. The accumulation of auxin in root transition zone increased. This variation was mirrored in the expression of genes linked to granule formation and auxin efflux, particularly those in the PIN-formed family. This developmental framework suggested a unique role for the root gravitropic response that hinges on starch granules and auxin transport, acting as mediators in the modulation of GSA under Al stress. Exogenous application of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and the auxin efflux inhibitor N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) had an impact on the root gravitropic response to Al stress. The outcomes indicate that Al stress inhibited polar auxin transport and starch granule formation, the two processes crucial for gravitropism. This impairment led to an elevation in GSA and a reconfiguration of RSA. This study introduces a novel perspective on how plant roots react to Al toxicity, culminating in RSA modification in the context of acidic soil with elevated Al concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108315
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
Early online date28 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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