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Functional associations between the metabolome and manganese tolerance in Vigna unguiculata.

Journal of experimental botany (2011-09-22)
Hendrik Führs, André Specht, Alexander Erban, Joachim Kopka, Walter J Horst
ABSTRACT

Genotypic- and silicon (Si)-mediated differences in manganese (Mn) tolerance of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) arise from a combination of symplastic and apoplastic traits. A detailed metabolomic inspection could help to identify functional associations between genotype- and Si-mediated Mn tolerance and metabolism. Two cowpea genotypes differing in Mn tolerance (TVu 91, Mn sensitive; TVu 1987, Mn tolerant) were subjected to differential Mn and Si treatments. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based metabolite profiling of leaf material was performed. Detailed evaluation of the response of metabolites was combined with gene expression and physiological analyses. After 2 d of 50 μM Mn supply TVu 91 expressed toxicity symptoms first in the form of brown spots on the second oldest trifoliate leaves. Silicon treatment suppressed symptom development in TVu 91. Despite higher concentrations of Mn in leaves of TVu 1987 compared with TVu 91, the tolerant genotype did not show symptoms. From sample cluster formation as identified by independent component analysis (ICA) of metabolite profiles it is concluded that genotypic differences accounted for the highest impact on variation in metabolite pools, followed by Mn and Si treatments in one of two experiments. Analysis of individual metabolites corroborated a comparable minor role for Mn and Si treatments in the modulation of individual metabolites. Mapping individual metabolites differing significantly between genotypes onto biosynthetic pathways and gene expression studies on the corresponding pathways suggest that genotypic Mn tolerance is a consequence of differences (i) in the apoplastic binding capacity; (ii) in the capability to maintain a high antioxidative state; and (iii) in the activity of shikimate and phenylpropanoid metabolism.

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