Background and Aims Aluminium (Al) toxicity and drought are two major limiting factors for common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) production on tropical acid soils. Polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000)-induced osmotic stress (OS) simulating drought stress reduces Al accumulation in the entire root tips of common bean by alteration of cell-wall (CW) porosity, which might be regulated by two genes encoding xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase, PvXTH9 and PvXTHb. The aim of this research was to understand the spatial and temporal regulation of both XTH genes in PEG-mediated Al accumulation in the root tips.
Methods In this study the spatial and temporal expression patterns of Al-inhibited root elongation, Al accumulation, XTH gene expression and xyloglucan endotransglucosylase (XET) enzyme action in the root tips were analysed under PEG-induced OS by a combination of physiological and molecular approaches such as quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and in situ fluorescence detection of XET in root tips.
Key Results The results showed that Al accumulation, expression of XTH genes and XET action were distinctly reduced in the apical 0–2, 2–7 and 7–12 mm zones under OS, implying a potential regulatory role of XTH genes and XET enzyme in CW Al accumulation in these zones.
Conclusions The results provide novel insights into the physiological and molecular mechanisms of CW structure modification as a response of plant roots to OS, which will contribute to mitigate Al and drought stresses, severely limiting crop yields on acid soils.