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Salicylic acid-induced aluminum tolerance by modulation of citrate efflux from roots of Cassia tora L.


Aluminum-induced exudation of organic acids from roots has been proposed as a mechanism for Al tolerance in plants. To better understand the regulatory process leading to efflux of organic acids, the possible involvement of salicylic acid (SA) in regulating Al-induced citrate release in Cassia tora L. was identified. The response of citrate efflux to exogenous SA was concentration-dependent. Application of SA at 5 μM in solution containing 20 μM Al increased citrate efflux to levels 1.76-fold higher than in controls (20 μM Al alone). However, inhibition of citrate release was observed when SA concentrations increased to more than 20 μM. Increased citrate efflux due to the SA treatment was associated with decreased inhibition of root growth and Al content in root tips, suggesting that exogenous SA could confer Al tolerance by increasing citrate efflux. We also examined citrate synthase activities (EC and citrate concentrations in root tips exposed to Al and/or SA. However, both citrate synthase activities and citrate accumulation remained unaffected. These results indicate that SA-promotion of Al-induced citrate efflux is not correlated with increase in citrate production. Total endogenous SA concentrations were measured in root tips and the SA concentrations were significantly enhanced by Al at levels of 10–50 μM.

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citrate synthase


salicylic acid


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the expert technical assistance of Dr. Hong Yang (Department of Applied Chemistry, College of Science, Nanjing Agricultural University.). This work was supported by the project sponsored by the Scientific Research Foundation for Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, State Education Ministry.

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Correspondence to Zhi-Min Yang.

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Yang, ZM., Wang, J., Wang, SH. et al. Salicylic acid-induced aluminum tolerance by modulation of citrate efflux from roots of Cassia tora L.. Planta 217, 168–174 (2003).

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  • Aluminum
  • Cassia
  • Citrate efflux
  • Root elongation
  • Salicylic acid