Role of salicylic acid in alleviating the inhibition of root elongation by suppressing ethylene emission in rice under Al toxicity conditions

  • Chun Quan Zhu
  • Wen Jun Hu
  • Xiao Chuang Cao
  • Lian Feng Zhu
  • Zhi Gang Bai
  • Jie Huang
  • Qing Duo Liang
  • Qian Yu Jin
  • Jun Hua ZhangEmail author
Original paper


Salicylic acid (SA) is the phytohormone responsible for the regulation of growth and response to environmental stress in plants. In the present study, the application of 1 μM SA significantly enhanced the SA content in rice roots and improved their growth when affected by Al toxicity by concomitantly decreasing the Al content of the root apex. The addition of SA significantly inhibited the synthesis of pectin and hemicellulose, suppressed the activity of pectin methylesterase (PME), and decreased the cell wall Al content. The expression of OsSTAR1 (sensitive to Al rhizotoxicity) and OsSTAR2 was induced by SA to mask the Al-binding sites in the cell walls. The expression of OsALS1 (Al sensitive) was also stimulated by SA, which improved the transport of cytoplasmic Al into the vacuoles. In rice affected by Al toxicity, SA significantly increased the activity of catalase and peroxidase and reduced the H2O2 content and malondialdehyde content. The expression of OsACS1 (ACC synthase) and OsACO1 (ACC oxidase) was inhibited by SA and thus inhibited ethylene emission. The addition of ethylene precursor 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) along with SA under Al toxicity conditions aggravated the inhibition of root elongation, accompanied by an increased Al content in the root apex and cell walls, increased pectin content, and rendered PME activity greater than with single Al treatment. However, the addition of aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG, inhibitor of the ACC synthase) along with SA under Al toxicity conditions showed the opposite effect, indicating that SA inhibited ethylene emission, thus reducing the Al deposition on cell walls.


Aluminum Salicylic acid Cell wall Ethylene Rice 



This work was funded by the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. LQ19C020007), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31771733, 31872857), Science and Technology Planning Project in Zhejiang Province (No. 2016C02050-3), State Key Laboratory Breeding Base for Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control (No. 2010DS700124-KF1901), and Basic Research Foundation of National Commonweal Research Institute (No. 2017RG004-2). We would like to thank LetPub ( for linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.

Author contributions

CQZ, WJH, JHZ and LFZ performed research; CQZ analyzed data and wrote the draft; WJH, XCC, ZGB, JH, QDL and QYJ revised the article; CQZ and JHZ designed the research, and JHZ wrote the article.

Supplementary material

10725_2019_554_MOESM1_ESM.docx (411 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 411 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Rice BiologyChina National Rice Research InstituteHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Sericultural Research InstituteZhejiang Academy of Agricultural SciencesHangzhouChina

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