The possible role of ethylene in the initial signal transduction of Al-induced root growth responses was investigated in two tropical maize (Zea mays) varieties that differ in Al resistance: ATP SR Yellow and HS 701 B. The intensity of Al toxicity effects were evaluated after short (4 and 24 h) exposure to 50 μM Al in complete low ionic strength nutrient solution. Relative root elongation rates (RER) and callose formation in root tips were used as stress indicators. Ethylene production by the root tips and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase and ACC oxidase activities were analyzed. After 24 h exposure to Al, both less callose production and higher RER indicated that ATP SR Yellow was more Al resistant than HS 701 B. The Al resistance of ATP SR Yellow, however, was not expressed after 4 h exposure to Al, when increased callose and decreased RER were observed. In any of the varieties and after any of the time-treatments an Al-induced increase of ethylene production was found. Our results indicate that the Al-resistance genes were not constitutively expressed in the absence of Al in the medium, but activated upon exposure to Al. An efficient protection against Al was achieved after a lag time of more than 4 h. Enhanced ethylene formation does not seem to play a role either in the Al-induced inhibition of root elongation or in the induction of the resistance mechanism. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Root tip
- Zea mays