Attenuated down-regulation of PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER1 genes as a mechanism for phosphorus sensitivity in phosphorus-efficient Hakea prostrata (Proteaceae)

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Abstract

Background and aims
Phosphorus (P) is an essential plant nutrient and integral for crop yield. However, plants adapted to P-impoverished environments, such as Hakea prostrata (Proteaceae), are often sensitive to P supplies that would be beneficial to other plants. The strategies for phosphate uptake and transport in P-sensitive species have received little attention.

Methods
Using a recently-assembled transcriptome of H. prostrata, we identified 10 putative members of the PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER1 (PHT1) gene family, which is responsible for inorganic phosphate (Pi) uptake and transport in plants. We examined plant growth, organ P concentrations and the transcript levels for the eight PHT1 members that were expressed in roots of H. prostrata at Pi supplies ranging from P-impoverished to P-excess.

Key results
Hakea prostrata plants suppressed cluster root growth above ecologically-relevant Pi supplies, whilst non-cluster root mass ratios were constant. Root P concentrations increased with increasing Pi supply. Of the eight H. prostrata PHT1 genes tested, four had relatively high transcript amounts in young roots suggesting important roles in Pi uptake; however, a maximum five-fold difference in expression between P-impoverished and P-excess conditions indicated a low P-responsiveness for these genes. The HpPHT1;8 and HpPHT1;9 genes were paralogous to Pi-responsive Arabidopsis thaliana PHT1;8 and PHT1;9 orthologues involved in root-to-shoot translocation of P, but only HpPHT1;9 was P responsive.

Conclusions
An attenuated ability of H. prostrata to regulate PHT1 expression in response to Pi supply is likely responsible for its low capacity to control P uptake and contributes to its high P sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalPlant and Soil
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2024

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