Isolated Medicago truncatula mutants with increased calcium oxalate crystal accumulation have decreased ascorbic acid levels

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2007 Mar-Apr;45(3-4):216-20. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2007.01.013. Epub 2007 Feb 4.


The mechanisms controlling oxalate biosynthesis and calcium oxalate formation in plants remain largely unknown. As an initial step toward gaining insight into these regulatory mechanisms we initiated a mutant screen to identify plants that over-accumulate crystals of calcium oxalate. Four new mutants were identified, from an ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)-mutagenized Medicago truncatula (cv. Jemalong genotype A17) population, that over-accumulated calcium oxalate crystals. The increased calcium oxalate content of these new mutants, as with the previously isolated mutant cod4, resulted from an increase in druse crystals accumulated within the mesophyll cells of leaves. Complementation and segregation analysis revealed that each mutant was affected at a different locus. This was confirmed through the genetic mapping of each mutation to different linkage groups. Together, these findings emphasize the complexity of factors that can contribute to oxalate biosynthesis and crystal formation in these plants. In addition, each mutant showed a common decrease in ascorbic acid content providing genetic support for ascorbic acid as a precursor in the oxalate biosynthetic pathway for druse crystal formation. Further support was obtained by the ability of an exogenous supply of ascorbate to induce druse crystal formation while other tested organic acids did not induce crystal production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism*
  • Calcium Oxalate / chemistry
  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism*
  • Crystallization
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Medicago truncatula / genetics*
  • Medicago truncatula / metabolism*
  • Mutation*
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Ascorbic Acid