Dual effects of transgenic Brassica napus overexpressing CS gene on tolerances to aluminum toxicity and phosphorus deficiency

Research paper by Yi Wang, Heng Xu, Jiaojiao Kou, Lei Shi, Chunyu Zhang, Fangsen Xu

Indexed on: 16 May '12Published on: 16 May '12Published in: Plant and soil


Low phosphorus (P) bioavailability and aluminum (Al) toxicity are two major constraints to plant growth in acid soil. To improve the tolerance of Brassica napus to Al toxicity and P deficiency, we generated transgenic canola (Brassica napus cv Westar) lines overexpressing a Pseudomonas aeruginosa citrate synthase (CS) gene and then investigated the effects of CS gene overexpressing in canola on enhancing tolerance to the two constraints.The vector construction and plant transformation, molecular identification, estimation of extracellular and cellular citrate and malate concentrations, enzyme activity and gene expression analyse and Al tolerance and P acquisition assays were conducted using both hydroponics and soil culturing in the study.Both the root citrate and malate concentrations and their exudations in the two transgenic lines significantly increased compared with wild type (WT) following exposure to Al. These increases may be attributed to higher activities of the CS, malate dehydrogenase (MDH) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) enzymes in the TCA cycle and the expression of BnALMT and BnMATE in the transgenic plants following Al exposure. The primary root elongation and prolonged Al treatment (10 days) experiments revealed that the transgenic lines displayed enhanced levels of Al tolerance. In addition, they showed enhanced citrate and malate exudation when grown in P-deficient conditions. Moreover, the enzyme activities of the transgenic lines were significantly higher compared with WT in response to P-deficient stress. The soil culture experiment showed that the transgenic lines possessed improved P uptake from the soil and accumulated more P in their shoots and seeds when FePO4 was used as the sole P source.These results indicate that the overexpression of the CS gene in B. napus not only leads to increased citrate synthesis and exudation but also changes malate metabolism, which confers improved tolerances to Al toxicity and P deficiency in the transgenic plants. These findings provide further insight into the dual effects of CS gene overexpression on Al toxicity and P deficiency in plants.