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Article|05 May 2023|OPEN
Al-induced CsUGT84J2 enhances flavonol and auxin accumulation to promote root growth in tea plants
Xiaolan Jiang1 ,† , Sanyan Lai1 ,† , Dexu Kong1 , Xiaohan Hou1 , Yufeng Shi1 , Zhouping Fu1 , Yajun Liu2 , Liping Gao2 and Tao Xia,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, Anhui, China
2School of Life Science, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, Anhui, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail: xiatao62@ahau.edu.cn
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhad095 (2023)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/hr/uhad095
Views: 235

Received: 31 Oct 2022
Accepted: 25 Apr 2023
Published online: 05 May 2023

Abstract

Although Al is not necessary or even toxic to most plants, it is beneficial for the growth of tea plants. However, the mechanism through which Al promotes root growth in tea plants remains unclear. In the present study, we found that flavonol glycoside levels in tea roots increased following Al treatment, and the Al-induced UDP glycosyltransferase CsUGT84J2 was involved in this mechanism. Enzyme activity assays revealed that rCsUGT84J2 exhibited catalytic activity on multiple types of substrates, including phenolic acids, flavonols, and auxins in vitro. Furthermore, metabolic analysis with UPLC-QqQ-MS/MS revealed significantly increased flavonol and auxin glycoside accumulation in CsUGT84J2-overexpressing Arabidopsis thaliana. In addition, the expression of genes involved in the flavonol pathway as well as in the auxin metabolism, transport, and signaling pathways was remarkably enhanced. Additionally, lateral root growth and exogenous Al stress tolerance were significantly improved in transgenic A. thaliana. Moreover, gene expression and metabolic accumulation related to phenolic acids, flavonols, and auxin were upregulated in CsUGT84J2-overexpressing tea plants but downregulated in CsUGT84J2-silenced tea plants. In conclusion, Al treatment induced CsUGT84J2 expression, mediated flavonol and auxin glycosylation, and regulated endogenous auxin homeostasis in tea roots, thereby promoting the growth of tea plants. Our findings lay the foundation for studying the precise mechanisms through which Al promotes the growth of tea plants.