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Aluminium (Al) resistance in common bean is known to be due to exudation of citrate from the root after a lag phase, indicating the induction of gene transcription and protein synthesis. The aims of this study were to identify Al-induced differentially expressed genes and to analyse the expression of candidate genes conferring Al resistance in bean.
The suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) method was used to identify differentially expressed genes in an Al-resistant bean genotype (‘Quimbaya’) during the induction period. Using quantitative real-time PCR the expression patterns of selected genes were compared between an Al-resistant and an Al-sensitive genotype (‘VAX 1’) treated with Al for up to 24 h.
Short-term Al treatment resulted in up-regulation of stress-induced genes and down-regulation of genes involved in metabolism. However, the expressions of genes encoding enzymes involved in citrate metabolism were not significantly affected by Al. Al treatment dramatically increased the expression of common bean expressed sequence tags belonging to the citrate transporter gene family MATE (multidrug and toxin extrusion family protein) in both the Al-resistant and -sensitive genotype in close agreement with Al-induced citrate exudation.
The expression of a citrate transporter MATE gene is crucial for citrate exudation in common bean. However, although the expression of the citrate transporter is a prerequisite for citrate exudation, genotypic Al resistance in common bean particularly depends on the capacity to sustain the synthesis of citrate for maintaining the cytosolic citrate pool that enables exudation.