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Plant Physiol. 1988 Jul;87(3):711-5.

Phosphate Starvation Inducible Metabolism in Lycopersicon esculentum: I. Excretion of Acid Phosphatase by Tomato Plants and Suspension-Cultured Cells.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721.


Both tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv VF 36) plants and suspension cultured cells show phosphate starvation inducible (psi) excretion of acid phosphatase (Apase). Apase excretion in vitro was proportional to the level of exogenous orthophosphate (Pi). Intracellular Apase activity remained the same in both Pi-starved and sufficient cells, while Apase excreted by the starved cells increased by as much as six times over unstressed control cells on a dry weight basis. At peak induction, 50% of total Apase was excreted. Ten day old tomato seedlings grown without Pi showed slight growth reduction versus unstressed control plants. The Pi-depleted roots showed psi enhancement of Apase activity. Severely starved seedlings (17 days) reached only one-third of the biomass of unstressed control plants but, because of a combination of psi Apase excretion by roots and a shift in biomass to this organ, they excreted 5.5 times the Apase activity of the unstressed control. Observed psi Apase excretion may be part of a phosphate starvation rescue system in plants. The utility of the visible indicator dye 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-phosphate-p-toluidine as a phenotypic marker for plant Apase excretion is demonstrated.

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