Essential role of MYB transcription factor: PvPHR1 and microRNA: PvmiR399 in phosphorus-deficiency signalling in common bean roots


G. Hernández. Fax: +52 777 3175581; e-mail:


Phosphorus (P), an essential element for plants, is one of the most limiting nutrients for plant growth. A few transcription factor (TF) genes involved in P-starvation signalling have been characterized for Arabidopsis thaliana and rice. Crop production of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), the most important legume for human consumption, is often limited by low P in the soil. Despite its agronomic importance, nothing is known about transcriptional regulation in P-deficient bean plants. We functionally characterized the P-deficiency-induced MYB TF TC3604 (Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Common Bean Gene Index v.2.0), ortholog to AtPHR1 (PvPHR1). For its study, we applied RNAi technology in bean composite plants. PvPHR1 is a positive regulator of genes implicated in P transport, remobilization and homeostasis. Although there are no reports on the regulatory roles of microRNAs (miRNA) in bean, we demonstrated that PvmiR399 is an essential component of the PvPHR1 signalling pathway. The analysis of DICER-like1 (PvDCL1) silenced bean composite plants suppressed for accumulation of PvmiR399 and other miRNAs suggested that miR399 is a negative regulator of the ubiquitin E2 conjugase: PvPHO2 expression. Our results set the basis for understanding the signalling for P-starvation responses in common bean and may contribute to crop improvement.