Common and specific responses to iron and phosphorus deficiencies in roots of apple tree (Malus × domestica)
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Iron and phosphorus are abundant elements in soils but poorly available for plant nutrition. The availability of these two nutrients represents a major constraint for fruit tree cultivation such as apple (Malus × domestica) leading very often to a decrease of fruit productivity and quality worsening. Aim of this study was to characterize common and specific features of plant response to Fe and P deficiencies by ionomic, transcriptomic and exudation profiling of apple roots. Under P deficiency, the root release of oxalate and flavonoids increased. Genes encoding for transcription factors and transporters involved in the synthesis and release of root exudates were upregulated by P-deficient roots, as well as those directly related to P acquisition. In Fe-deficiency, plants showed an over-accumulation of P, Zn, Cu and Mn and induced the transcription of those genes involved in the mechanisms for the release of Fe-chelating compounds and Fe mobilization inside the plants. The intriguing modulation in roots of some transcription factors, might indicate that, in this condition, Fe homeostasis is regulated by a FIT-independent pathway. In the present work common and specific features of apple response to Fe and P deficiency has been reported. In particular, data indicate similar modulation of a. 230 genes, suggesting the occurrence of a crosstalk between the two nutritional responses involving the transcriptional regulation, shikimate pathway, and the root release of exudates.
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