Al-UCIDATE is an ERA-CAPs collaboration studying aluminum genotoxicity for crop improvement.
Aluminum (Al) is one of the most abundant elements in the Earth's crust. More than 50% of the world’s potentially arable land comprises acidic soils, in which Al speciates into its highly toxic form, Al3+. Aluminum toxicity is an important limitation to worldwide crop production. The most evident symptom and important consequence of Al toxicity is root growth inhibition, which results at least in part from activation of an ATM AND RAD3-RELATED (ATR)-dependent cell cycle arrest program in response to Al-dependent damage. The finding that Al acts as a DNA-stress-inducing compound represents a new perspective on Al toxicity that bears further investigation. The different labs of this Al-UCIDATE collaboration will use Arabidopsis and barley as model systems to study this novel effect of Al.