Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis Mitigates Iron (Fe)-Deficiency Retardation in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) Through the Enhancement of Fe Accumulation and Sulfur-Assisted Antioxidant Defense.Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Mar 23; 21(6)IJ
Iron (Fe)-deficiency is one of the major constraints affecting growth, yield and nutritional quality in plants. This study was performed to elucidate how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) alleviate Fe-deficiency retardation in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). AMF supplementation improved plant biomass, chlorophyll score, Fv/Fm (quantum efficiency of photosystem II), and Pi_ABS (photosynthesis performance index), and reduced cell death, electrolyte leakage, and hydrogen peroxide accumulation in alfalfa. Moreover, AMF enhanced ferric chelate reductase activity as well as Fe, Zn, S and P in alfalfa under Fe-deficiency. Although Fe-transporters (MsIRT1 and MsNramp1) did not induce in root but MsFRO1 significantly induced by AMF under Fe deficiency in roots, suggesting that AMF-mediated Fe enhancement is related to the bioavailability of Fe at rhizosphere/root apoplast rather than the upregulation of Fe transporters under Fe deficiency in alfalfa. Several S-transporters (MsSULTR1;1, MsSULTR1;2, MsSULTR1;3, and MsSULTR3;1) markedly increased following AMF supplementation with or without Fe-deficiency alfalfa. Our study further suggests that Fe uptake system is independently influenced by AMF regardless of the S status in alfalfa. However, the increase of S in alfalfa is correlated with the elevation of GR and S-metabolites (glutathione and cysteine) associated with antioxidant defense under Fe deficiency.