Genotypic variation in the sulfur assimilation and metabolism of onion (Allium cepa L.) I. Plant composition and transcript accumulation

John A. McCallum, Ludivine Thomas, Martin L. Shaw, Meeghan D. Pither-Joyce, Susanna Leung, Mathew Cumming, Michael T. McManus

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14 Scopus citations


Organosulfur compounds are major sinks for assimilated sulfate in onion (Allium cepa L.) and accumulation varies widely due to plant genotype and sulfur nutrition. In order to better characterise sulfur metabolism phenotypes and identify potential control points we compared plant composition and transcript accumulation of the primary sulfur assimilation pathway in the high pungency genotype 'W202A' and the low pungency genotype 'Texas Grano 438' grown hydroponically under S deficient (S-) and S-sufficient (S+) conditions. Accumulation of total S and alk(en)yl cysteine sulfoxide flavour precursors was significantly higher under S+ conditions and in 'W202A' in agreement with previous studies. Leaf sulfate and cysteine levels were significantly higher in 'W202A' and under S+. Glutathione levels were reduced by S- treatment but were not affected by genotype, suggesting that thiol pool sizes are regulated differently in mild and pungent onions. The only significant treatment effect observed on transcript accumulation in leaves was an elevated accumulation of O-acetyl serine thiol-lyase under S-. By contrast, transcript accumulation of all genes in roots was influenced by one or more treatments. APS reductase transcript level was not affected by genotype but was strongly increased by S-. Significant genotype × S treatment effects were observed in a root high affinity-sulfur transporter and ferredoxin-sulfite reductase. ATP sulfurylase transcript levels were significantly higher under S+ and in 'W202A'. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-887
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Horticulture
  • Molecular Biology


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