, Volume 381, Issue 1-2, pp 1-12
Date: 14 Mar 2014

Molecular mechanisms of Al tolerance in gramineous plants



Aluminum (Al) toxicity has limited the productivity and expansion of cereal crops on acid soils; however, a number of plant species or cultivars have developed different strategies for detoxifying aluminum both internally and externally.


This review focuses on recent progress on molecular mechanisms of Al tolerance in gramineous plants.


A common mechanism in all gramineous plants is the secretion of organic acid anions (citrate and malate) from the roots. Genes belonging to ALMT (for Aluminum-activated malate transporter) and MATE (Multidrug and toxic compound extrusion) family involved in the secretion have been identified in several plant species; however, different plant species show different gene expression patterns including Al-induction, spatial and temporal expression, and tissue localization. Furthermore, the mechanisms regulating the gene expression also differ with plant species, which are achieved by increased tandem repeated element, increase of copy number, insertion of transposon, or alteration of cis-acting element. In addition to these common Al exclusion mechanisms, rice as a highly Al-tolerant species has developed a number of other mechanisms for detoxification of Al. A transcription factor for Al tolerance ART1 identified in rice regulates at least 30 genes implicated in internal and external detoxification of Al. These multiple genes may contribute to the high Al tolerance of rice. In the future, regulation mechanisms of Al-tolerance genes need to be further investigated.

Responsible Editor: Philippe Hinsinger.