Article: article from journal or magazin.
Natural Arabidopsis brx loss-of-function alleles confer root adaptation to acidic soil.
Soil acidification is a major agricultural problem that negatively affects crop yield. Root systems counteract detrimental passive proton influx from acidic soil through increased proton pumping into the apoplast, which is presumably also required for cell elongation and stimulated by auxin. Here, we found an unexpected impact of extracellular pH on auxin activity and cell proliferation rate in the root meristem of two Arabidopsis mutants with impaired auxin perception, axr3 and brx. Surprisingly, neutral to slightly alkaline media rescued their severely reduced root (meristem) growth by stimulating auxin signaling, independent of auxin uptake. The finding that proton pumps are hyperactive in brx roots could explain this phenomenon and is consistent with more robust growth and increased fitness of brx mutants on overly acidic media or soil. Interestingly, the original brx allele was isolated from a natural stock center accession collected from acidic soil. Our discovery of a novel brx allele in accessions recently collected from another acidic sampling site demonstrates the existence of independently maintained brx loss-of-function alleles in nature and supports the notion that they are advantageous in acidic soil pH conditions, a finding that might be exploited for crop breeding.
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