Mass spectrometry-based quantification and spatial localization of small organic acid exudates in plant roots under phosphorus deficiency and aluminum toxicity

David Gomez-Zepeda, Moises Frausto, Héctor Rogelio Nájera-González, Luis Herrera-Estrella, José Juan Ordaz-Ortiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Low-molecular-weight organic acid (OA) extrusion by plant roots is critical for plant nutrition, tolerance to cations toxicity, and plant–microbe interactions. Therefore, methodologies for the rapid and precise quantification of OAs are necessary to be incorporated in the analysis of roots and their exudates. The spatial location of root exudates is also important to understand the molecular mechanisms directing OA production and release into the rhizosphere. Here, we report the development of two complementary methodologies for OA determination, which were employed to evaluate the effect of inorganic ortho-phosphate (Pi) deficiency and aluminum toxicity on OA excretion by Arabidopsis roots. OA exudation by roots is considered a core response to different types of abiotic stress and for the interaction of roots with soil microbes, and for decades has been a target trait to produce plant varieties with increased capacities of Pi uptake and Al tolerance. Using targeted ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-HRMS/MS), we achieved the quantification of six OAs in root exudates at sub-micromolar detection limits with an analysis time of less than 5 min per sample. We also employed targeted (MS/MS) matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to detect the spatial location of citric and malic acid with high specificity in roots and exudates. Using these methods, we studied OA exudation in response to Al toxicity and Pi deficiency in Arabidopsis seedlings overexpressing genes involved in OA excretion. Finally, we show the transferability of the MALDI-MSI method by analyzing OA excretion in Marchantia polymorpha gemmalings subjected to Pi deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Marchantia polymorpha
  • aluminum toxicity
  • high resolution mass spectrometry
  • mass spectrometry
  • mass spectrometry imaging
  • organic acids
  • phosphorus deficiency
  • root exudates
  • technical advance

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