Journal Article

How a microbial drug transporter became essential for crop cultivation on acid soils: aluminium tolerance conferred by the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family

Jurandir V. Magalhaes

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 106, issue 1, pages 199-203
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq115
How a microbial drug transporter became essential for crop cultivation on acid soils: aluminium tolerance conferred by the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background

Aluminium (Al) toxicity is a major agricultural constraint for crop cultivation on acid soils, which comprise a large portion of the world's arable land. One of the most widely accepted mechanisms of Al tolerance in plants is based on Al-activated organic acid release into the rhizosphere, with organic acids forming stable, non-toxic complexes with Al. This mechanism has recently been validated by the isolation of bona-fide Al-tolerance genes in crop species, which encode membrane transporters that mediate Al-activated organic acid release leading to Al exclusion from root apices. In crop species such as sorghum and barley, members in the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family underlie Al tolerance by a mechanism based on Al-activated citrate release.

Scope and Conclusions

The study of Al tolerance in plants as conferred by MATE family members is in its infancy. Therefore, much is yet to be discovered about the functional diversity and evolutionary dynamics that led MATE proteins to acquire transport properties conducive to Al tolerance in plants. In this paper we review the major characteristics of transporters in the MATE family and will relate this knowledge to Al tolerance in plants. The MATE family is clearly extremely flexible with respect to substrate specificity, which raises the possibility that Al tolerance as encoded by MATE proteins may not be restricted to Al-activated citrate release in plant species. There are also indications that regulatory loci may be of pivotal importance to fully explore the potential for Al-tolerance improvement based on MATE genes.

Keywords: Aluminium tolerance; multidrug and toxic compound extrusion; MATE; membrane transporters; regulation of gene expression; abiotic stress; microbial

Journal Article.  4033 words. 

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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