Response to zinc deficiency of two rice lines with contrasting tolerance is determined by root growth maintenance and organic acid exudation rates, and not by zinc-transporter activity.
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*Zinc (Zn)-deficient soils constrain rice (Oryza sativa) production and cause Zn malnutrition. The identification of Zn-deficiency-tolerant rice lines indicates that breeding might overcome these constraints. Here, we seek to identify processes underlying Zn-deficiency tolerance in rice at the physiological and transcriptional levels. *A Zn-deficiency-tolerant line RIL46 acquires Zn more efficiently and produces more biomass than its nontolerant maternal line (IR74) at low [Zn](ext) under field conditions. We tested if this was the result of increased expression of Zn(2+) transporters; increased root exudation of deoxymugineic acid (DMA) or low-molecular-weight organic acids (LMWOAs); and/or increased root production. Experiments were performed in field and controlled environment conditions. *There was little genotypic variation in transcript abundance of Zn-responsive root Zn(2+)-transporters between the RIL46 and IR74. However, root exudation of DMA and LMWOA was greater in RIL46, coinciding with increased root expression of putative ligand-efflux genes. Adventitious root production was maintained in RIL46 at low [Zn](ext), correlating with altered expression of root-specific auxin-responsive genes. *Zinc-deficiency tolerance in RIL46 is most likely the result of maintenance of root growth, increased efflux of Zn ligands, and increased uptake of Zn-ligand complexes at low [Zn](ext); these traits are potential breeding targets.
author list (cited authors)
Widodo, B., Broadley, M. R., Rose, T., Frei, M., Pariasca-Tanaka, J., Yoshihashi, T., ... Wissuwa, M.
complete list of authors
Widodo, Basuki||Broadley, Martin R||Rose, Terry||Frei, Michael||Pariasca-Tanaka, Juan||Yoshihashi, Tadashi||Thomson, Michael||Hammond, John P||Aprile, Alessio||Close, Timothy J||Ismail, Abdelbagi M||Wissuwa, Matthias