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Plant J. 2007 Jun;50(6):982-94. Epub 2007 Apr 25.

Members of the PHO1 gene family show limited functional redundancy in phosphate transfer to the shoot, and are regulated by phosphate deficiency via distinct pathways.

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Département de Biologie Moléculaire Végétale, Université de Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The PHO1 family comprises 11 members in Arabidopsis thaliana. In order to decipher the role of these genes in inorganic phosphate (Pi) transport and homeostasis, complementation of the pho1 mutant, deficient in loading Pi to the root xylem, was determined by the expression of the PHO1 homologous genes under the control of the PHO1 promoter. Only PHO1 and the homologue PHO1;H1 could complement pho1. The PHO1;H1 promoter was active in the vascular cylinder of roots and shoots. Expression of PHO1;H1 was very low in Pi-sufficient plants, but was strongly induced under Pi-deficient conditions. T-DNA knock-out mutants of PHO1;H1 neither showed growth defects nor alteration in Pi transport dynamics, or Pi content, compared with wild type. However, the double mutant pho1/pho1;h1 showed a strong reduction in growth and in the capacity to transfer Pi from the root to the shoot compared with pho1. Grafting experiments revealed that phenotypes associated with the pho1 and pho1/pho1;h1 mutants were linked to the lack of gene expression in the root. The increased expression of PHO1;H1 under Pi deficiency was largely controlled by the transcription factor PHR1 and was suppressed by the phosphate analogue phosphite, whereas the increase of PHO1 expression was independent of PHR1 and was not influenced by phosphite. Together, these data reveal that although transfer of Pi to the root xylem vessel is primarily mediated by PHO1, the homologue PHO1;H1 also contributes to Pi loading to the xylem, and that the two corresponding genes are regulated by Pi deficiency by distinct signal transduction pathways.

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