Comparative studies on the effect of a protein-synthesis inhibitor on aluminium-induced secretion of organic acids from Fagopyrum esculentum Moench and Cassia tora L. roots


Shao Jian Zheng. Fax: +86 5718643 3724; E-mail:


Aluminium (Al)-induced secretion of organic acids from plant roots is considered a mechanism of Al resistance, but the processes leading to the secretion of organic acids are still unknown. In the present study, a protein-synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide (CHM), was used to investigate its effect on Al-induced organic acid secretion in a pattern I (rapid exudation of organic acids under Al stress) plant buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) and a pattern II (exudation of organic acids was delayed by several hours under Al stress) plant Cassia tora L. A dose–response experiment showed that the secretion of oxalate by buckwheat roots was not affected by CHM when added in the range from 0 to 50 µm, with or without exposure to 100 µm Al, but the secretion of citrate was completely inhibited by 30 µm CHM in C. tora. A time-course experiment showed that even prolonged exposure to 20 µm CHM did not affect oxalate secretion in buckwheat, but significantly inhibited citrate secretion in C. tora. However, citrate synthase (CS) activity in C. tora was not affected during 12 h exposure to 100 µm Al when compared with that in control roots, although CHM can inhibit CS activity effectively. These results indicated that CS activity was not related to Al-regulated citrate efflux in C. tora. The total protein was decreased by 14.0% and 32.3% in C. tora and buckwheat root tip, respectively, after 3-h treatment with 20 µm CHM. A 3-h pulse with 20 µm CHM completely inhibited citrate efflux in C. tora during the next 6-h exposure to Al, although a small amount of citrate was exuded after 9-h exposure. However, oxalate efflux in buckwheat was not influenced by a similar treatment. In buckwheat, a 3-h pulse with 100 µm Al maintained oxalate secretion at a high level during the next 9 h, with or without CHM treatment. Conversely, in C. tora a 6-h pulse with 100 µm Al induced significant secretion of citrate which was inhibited by the CHM. Taken together, these findings suggest that both de novo synthesis and activation of an anion channel are needed for Al-induced secretion of citrate in C. tora, but in buckwheat the plasma membrane protein responsible for oxalate secretion pre-exists.