Exogenous low pH stress causes cell death in root cells, limiting root development, and agricultural production. Different lines of evidence suggested a relationship with cell wall (CW) remodeling players. We investigated whether class III peroxidase (CIII Prx) total activity, CIII Prx candidate gene expression, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) could modify CW structure during low pH-induced cell death in Arabidopsis thaliana roots. Wild-type roots displayed a good spatio-temporal correlation between the low pH-induced cell death and total CIII Prx activity in the early elongation (EZs), transition (TZs), and meristematic (MZs) zones. In situ mRNA hybridization showed that AtPrx62 transcripts accumulated only in roots treated at pH 4.6 in the same zones where cell death was induced. Furthermore, roots of the atprx62-1 knockout mutant showed decreased cell mortality under low pH compared to wild-type roots. Among the ROS, there was a drastic decrease in O2·- levels in the MZs of wild-type and atprx62-1 roots upon low pH stress. Together, our data demonstrate that AtPrx62 expression is induced by low pH and that the produced protein could positively regulate cell death. Whether the decrease in O2·- level is related to cell death induced upon low pH treatment remains to be elucidated.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; ROS homeostasis; acidic stress; cell mortality; cell wall; cell wall remodeling; root tip; root zone; superoxide depletion.