Differential gene expression analysis provides new insights into the molecular basis of iron deficiency stress response in the citrus rootstock Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.
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Iron chlorosis is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting fruit trees and other crops in calcareous soils and leads to a reduction in growth and yield. Usual remediation strategies consist of amending iron to soil, which is an expensive practice, or using tolerant cultivars, which are difficult to develop when not available. To understand the mechanisms underlying the associated physiopathy better, and thus develop new strategies to overcome the problems resulting from iron deficiency, the differential gene expression induced by iron deficiency in the susceptible citrus rootstock Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf. have been examined. The genes identified are putatively involved in cell wall modification, in determining photosynthesis rate and chlorophyll content, and reducing oxidative stress. Additional studies on cell wall morphology, photosynthesis, and chlorophyll content, as well as peroxidase and catalase activities, support their possible functions in the response to iron deficiency in a susceptible genotype, and the results are discussed.