Selenite is a predominant form of selenium (Se) available to plants, especially in anaerobic soils, but the molecular mechanism of selenite uptake by plants is not well understood.
ltn1, a rice mutant previously shown to have increased phosphate (Pi) uptake, was found to exhibit higher selenite uptake than the wild-type in both concentration- and time-dependent selenite uptake assays. Respiratory inhibitors significantly inhibited selenite uptake in the wildtype and the ltn1 mutant, indicating that selenite uptake was coupled with H+ and energy-dependent. Selenite uptake was greatly enhanced under Pi-starvation conditions, suggesting that Pi transporters are involved in selenite uptake.
OsPT2, the most abundantly expressed Pi transporter in the roots, is also significantly up-regulated in ltn1 and dramatically induced by Pi starvation. OsPT2-overexpressing and knockdown plants displayed significantly increased and decreased rates of selenite uptake, respectively, suggesting that OsPT2 plays a crucial role in selenite uptake. Se content in rice grains also increased significantly in OsPT2-overexpressing plants.
These data strongly demonstrate that selenite and Pi share similar uptake mechanisms and that OsPT2 is involved in selenite uptake, which provides a potential strategy for breeding Se-enriched rice varieties.