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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Identification of genes and pathways associated with aluminum stress and tolerance using transcriptome profiling of wheat near-isogenic lines

Mario Houde* and Amadou Oury Diallo

Author Affiliations

Centre TOXEN, Département des Sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal QC, H3C 3P8, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:400  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-400

Published: 27 August 2008



Aluminum is considered the most limiting factor for plant productivity in acidic soils, which cover large areas of the world's potential arable lands. The inhibition of root growth is recognized as the primary effect of Al toxicity. To identify genes associated with Al stress and tolerance, transcriptome analyses of four different wheat lines (2 Al-tolerant and 2 Al sensitive) that differ in their response to Al were performed.


Microarray expression profiling revealed that 83 candidate genes are associated with Al stress and 25 are associated with tolerance. The stress-associated genes include important enzymes such as pyruvate dehydrogenase, alternative oxidase, and galactonolactone oxidase, ABC transporter and ascorbate oxido-reducatase. The Al tolerance-associated genes include the ALMT-1 malate transporter, glutathione S-transferase, germin/oxalate oxidase, fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase, cysteine-rich proteins, cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, cellulose synthase, zinc finger transcription factor, disease resistance response protein and F-box containing domain protein.


In this survey, we identified stress- and tolerance-associated genes that may be involved in the detoxification of Al and reactive oxygen species. Alternative pathways could help maintain the supply of important metabolites (H2O2, ascorbate, NADH, and phosphate) needed for Al tolerance and root growth. The Al tolerance-associated genes may be key factors that regulate these pathways.