Altered expression of osNLA1 modulates Pi accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants

Sihui Zhong, Kashif Mahmood, Yong Mei Bi, Steven J. Rothstein, Kosala Ranathunge

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Current agricultural practices rely on heavy use of fertilizers for increased crop productivity. However, the problems associated with heavy fertilizer use, such as high cost and environmental pollution, require the development of crop species with increased nutrient use efficiency. In this study, by using transgenic approaches, we have revealed the critical role of OsNLA1 in phosphate (Pi) accumulation of rice plants. When grown under sufficient Pi and nitrate levels, OsNLA1 knockdown (Osnla1-1, Osnla1-2, and Osnla1-3) lines accumulated higher Pi content in their shoot tissues compared to wild-type, whereas, over-expression lines (OsNLA1-OE1, OsNLA1-OE2, and OsNLA1-OE3) accumulated the least levels of Pi. However, under high Pi levels, knockdown lines accumulated much higher Pi content compared to wild-type and exhibited Pi toxicity symptoms in the leaves. In contrast, the over-expression lines had 50–60% of the Pi content of wild-type and did not show such symptoms. When grown under limiting nitrate levels, OsNLA1 transgenic lines also displayed a similar pattern in Pi accumulation and Pi toxicity symptoms compared to wild-type suggesting an existence of cross-talk between nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P), which is regulated by OsNLA1. The greater Pi accumulation in knockdown lines was a result of enhanced Pi uptake/permeability of roots compared to the wild-type. The cross-talk between N and P was found to be nitrate specific since the knockdown lines failed to over-accumulate Pi under low (sub-optimal) ammonium level. Moreover, OsNLA1 was also found to interact with OsPHO2, a known regulator of Pi homeostasis, in a Yeast Two-Hybrid (Y2H) assay. Taken together, these results show that OsNLA1 is involved in Pi homeostasis regulating Pi uptake and accumulation in rice plants and may provide an opportunity to enhance P use efficiency by manipulating nitrate supply in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number928
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017


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