Bacterial citrate synthase expression and soil aluminum tolerance in transgenic alfalfa


Alfalfa is very sensitive to soil acidity and its yield and stand duration are compromised due to inhibited root growth and reduced nitrogen fixation caused by Al toxicity. Soil improvement by liming is expensive and only partially effective, and conventional plant breeding for Al tolerance has had limited success. Because tobacco and papaya plants overexpressing Pseudomonas aeruginosa citrate synthase (CS) have been reported to exhibit enhanced tolerance to Al, alfalfa was engineered by introducing the CS gene controlled by the Arabidopsis Act2 constitutive promoter or the tobacco RB7 root-specific promoter. Fifteen transgenic plants were assayed for exclusion of Al from the root tip, for internal citrate content, for growth in in vitro assays, or for shoot and root growth in either hydroponics or in soil assays. Overall, only the soil assays yielded consistent results. Based on the soil assays, two transgenic events were identified that were more aluminum-tolerant than the non-transgenic control, confirming that citrate synthase overexpression can be a useful tool to help achieve aluminum tolerance.

DOI: 10.1007/s00299-008-0517-x

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@article{Barone2008BacterialCS, title={Bacterial citrate synthase expression and soil aluminum tolerance in transgenic alfalfa}, author={Pierluigi Barone and Daniele Rosellini and Peter R. Lafayette and Joseph H. Bouton and Fabio Veronesi and Wayne A. Parrott}, journal={Plant Cell Reports}, year={2008}, volume={27}, pages={893-901} }