J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (2): 155-167.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12702

Special Issue: Nitrogen uptake and utilization

• Molecular Physiology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Efficient iron plaque formation on tea (Camellia sinensis) roots contributes to acidic stress tolerance

Xianchen Zhang1†, Honghong Wu2†, Lingmu Chen1, Yeyun Liand Xiaochun Wan1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
    2Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, 92521, USA

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

    Email: Xiaochun Wan(wanxiaochun360@163.com)
  • Received:2018-04-26 Accepted:2018-07-19 Online:2018-07-23 Published:2019-02-01

Abstract: Tea plants grow in acidic soil, but to date, their intrinsic mechanisms of acidic stress tolerance have not been elucidated. Here, we assessed the tea plant response to growth on NH4+ nutrient media having different pH and iron levels. When grown in standard NH4+ nutrient solution (iron insufficient, 0.35 mg L-1 Fe2+), tea roots exhibited significantly lower nitrogen accumulation, plasma membrane H+-ATPase activity, and protein levels; net H+ efflux was lower at pH 4.0 and 5.0 than at pH 6.0. Addition of 30 mg L-1 Fe2+ (iron sufficient, mimicking normal soil Fe2+ concentrations) to the NH4+ nutrient solution led to more efficient iron plaque formation on roots and increased root plasma membrane H+-ATPase levels and activities at pH 4.0 and 5.0, compared to the pH 6.0 condition. Furthermore, plants grown at pH 4.0 and 5.0, with sufficient iron, exhibited significantly higher nitrogen accumulation than those grown at pH 6.0. Together, these results support the hypothesis that efficient iron plaque formation, on tea roots, is important for acidic stress tolerance. Furthermore, our findings establish that efficient iron plaque formation is linked to increased levels and activities of the tea root plasma membrane H+-ATPase, under low pH conditions.

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