Differential Regulation of Five Pht1 Phosphate Transporters from Maize (Zea mays L.)


Email: marcel.bucher@ipw.biol.ethz.chl


Abstract: Maize is one of the most important crops in the developing world, where adverse soil conditions and low fertilizer input are the two main constraints for stable food supply. Understanding the molecular and biochemical mechanisms involved in nutrient uptake is expected to support the development of future breeding strategies aimed at improving maize productivity on infertile soils. Phosphorus is the least mobile macronutrient in the soils and it is often limiting plant growth. In this work, five genes encoding Pht1 phosphate transporters which contribute to phosphate uptake and allocation in maize were identified. In phosphate-starved plants, transcripts of most of the five transporters were present in roots and leaves. Independent of the phosphate supply, expression of two genes was predominant in pollen or in roots colonized by symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi, respectively. Interestingly, high transcript levels of the mycorrhiza-inducible gene were also detectable in leaves of phosphate-starved plants. Thus, differential expression of Pht1 phosphate transporters in maize suggests involvement of the encoded proteins in diverse processes, including phosphate uptake from soil and transport at the symbiotic interface in mycorrhizas, phosphate (re)translocation in the shoot, and phosphate uptake during pollen tube growth.