Aluminium (Al) toxicity and drought are two major factors limiting common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) production in the tropics. Short-term effects of Al toxicity and drought stress on root growth in acid, Al-toxic soil were studied, with special emphasis on Al-drought interaction in the root apex. Root elongation was inhibited by both Al and drought. Combined stresses resulted in a more severe inhibition of root elongation than either stress alone. This result was different from the alleviation of Al toxicity by osmotic stress (-0.60 MPa polyethylene glycol) in hydroponics. However, drought reduced the impact of Al on the root tip, as indicated by the reduction of Al-induced callose formation and MATE expression. Combined Al and drought stress enhanced up-regulation of ACCO expression and synthesis of zeatin riboside, reduced drought-enhanced abscisic acid (ABA) concentration, and expression of NCED involved in ABA biosynthesis and the transcription factors bZIP and MYB, thus affecting the regulation of ABA-dependent genes (SUS, PvLEA18, KS-DHN, and LTP) in root tips. The results provide circumstantial evidence that in soil, drought alleviates Al injury, but Al renders the root apex more drought-sensitive, particularly by impacting the gene regulatory network involved in ABA signal transduction and cross-talk with other phytohormones necessary for maintaining root growth under drought.BMZ/GTZ/05.7860.9-001.00BMZ/GTZ/05.7860.9-001.0
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