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, .., 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