J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2014, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (3): 221-230.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12162

Special Issue: Plant Signal Transduction

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The role of aluminum sensing and signaling in plant aluminum resistance

Jiping Liu, Miguel A. Piñeros and Leon V. Kochian*   

  1. USDA-ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Tower Road, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA


As researchers have gained a better understanding in recent years into the physiological, molecular, and genetic basis of how plants deal with aluminum (Al) toxicity in acid soils prevalent in the tropics and sub-tropics, it has become clear that an important component of these responses is the triggering and regulation of cellular pathways and processes by Al. In this review of plant Al signaling, we begin by summarizing the understanding of physiological mechanisms of Al resistance, which first led researchers to realize that Al stress induces gene expression and modifies protein function during the activation of Al resistance responses. Subsequently, an overview of Al resistance genes and their function provides verification that Al induction of gene expression plays a major role in Al resistance in many plant species. More recent research into the mechanistic basis for Al-induced transcriptional activation of resistance genes has led to the identification of several transcription factors as well as cis-elements in the promoters of Al resistance genes that play a role in greater Al-induced gene expression as well as higher constitutive expression of resistance genes in some plant species. Finally, the post-transcriptional and translational regulation of Al resistance proteins is addressed, where recent research has shown that Al can both directly bind to and alter activity of certain organic acid transporters, and also influence Al resistance proteins indirectly, via protein phosphorylation.

Liu J, Piñeros MA, Kochian LV (2014) The role of aluminum sensing and signaling in plant aluminum resistance. J Integr Plant Biol 56: 221–230. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12162

Key words: ALMT, aluminum resistance, aluminum signaling, aluminum toxicity, MATE

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