Transcriptomic analysis of metabolic changes by phosphorus stress in rice plant roots


Correspondence: Jun Wasaki, Tel. & Fax: + 81 11 706 3845; e-mail:


As most soil phosphates exist as insoluble inorganic phosphate and organic phosphates, higher plants have developed several strategies for adaptation to low phosphorus (P). These include the secretion of acid phosphatase and organic acids, induction of the inorganic phosphate (Pi) transporter and the substitution of some enzyme activities as alternative pathways to increase P utilization efficiency. It has been proposed that plants also have a ‘pho regulon’ system, as observed in yeast and Escherichia coli; however, the detail of the regulation system for gene expression on P status is still unclear in plants. To investigate the alteration of gene expression of rice roots grown under P-deficient conditions, a transcriptomic analysis was conducted using a cDNA microarray on rice. Based on the changes of gene expression under a –P treatment, the up-regulation of some genes due to P deficiency was confirmed . Some new important metabolic changes are suggested, namely: (1) acceleration of carbon supply for organic acid synthesis through glycolysis; (2) alteration of lipid metabolism; (3) rearrangement of compounds for cell wall; and (4) changes of gene expression related to the response for metallic elements such as Al, Fe and Zn.