Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Germanium as a tool to dissect boron toxicity effects in barley and wheat

Julie E. Hayes A C , Margaret Pallotta A , Ute Baumann A , Bettina Berger B , Peter Langridge A and Tim Sutton A

A Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia.

B The Plant Accelerator, The University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: julie.hayes@acpfg.com.au

Functional Plant Biology 40(6) 618-627 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12329
Submitted: 2 November 2012  Accepted: 12 February 2013   Published: 2 April 2013

Abstract

Tolerance to boron (B) toxicity in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is partially attributable to HvNIP2;1, an aquaporin with permeability to B, as well as to silicon, arsenic and germanium (Ge). In this study, we mapped leaf symptoms of Ge toxicity in a doubled-haploid barley population (Clipper × Sahara 3771). Two quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with Ge toxicity symptoms were identified, located on Chromosomes 6H and 2H. These QTL co-located with two of four B toxicity tolerance loci previously mapped in the same population. The B toxicity tolerance gene underlying the 6H locus encodes HvNIP2;1, whereas the gene(s) and mechanisms underlying the 2H locus are as yet unknown. We provide examples of the application of Ge in studying specific aspects of B toxicity tolerance in plants, including screening of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and barley populations for altered function of HvNIP2;1 and related proteins. In particular, Ge may facilitate elucidation of the mechanism and gene(s) underlying the barley Chromosome 2H B tolerance locus.

Additional keywords: aquaporins, HvNIP2;1, LemnaTec digital imaging and analysis.


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