Rice (Oryza sativa) is the most aluminum (Al)-tolerant crop among small-grain cereals, but the mechanism underlying its high Al resistance is still not well understood. To understand the mechanisms underlying high Al-tolerance, we performed a comparative genome-wide transcriptional analysis by comparing expression profiling between the Al-tolerance cultivar (Koshihikari) and an Al-sensitive mutant star1 (SENSITIVE TO AL RHIZOTOXICITY 1) in both the root tips and the basal roots. Exposure to 20 μM AlCl3 for 6 h resulted in up-regulation (higher than 3-fold) of 213 and 2015 genes including 185 common genes in the root tips of wild-type and the mutant, respectively. On the other hand, in the basal root, genes up-regulated by Al were 126 and 2419 including 76 common genes in the wild-type and the mutant, respectively. These results indicate that Al-response genes are not only restricted to the root tips, but also in the basal root region. Analysis with genes up- or down-regulated only in the wild-type reveals that there are other mechanisms for Al-tolerance except for a known transcription factor ART1-regulated one in rice. These mechanisms are related to nitrogen assimilation, secondary metabolite synthesis, cell-wall synthesis and ethylene synthesis. Although the exact roles of these putative tolerance genes remain to be examined, our data provide a platform for further work on Al-tolerance in rice.
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