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Nat Genet. 2007 Jul;39(7):896-900. Epub 2007 Jun 24.

Natural variation for sulfate content in Arabidopsis thaliana is highly controlled by APR2.

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Station de Génétique et Amélioration des Plantes (SGAP), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Rte. de St. Cyr, Versailles 78026, France.


Most agronomic traits of importance, whether physiological (such as nutrient use efficiency) or developmental (such as flowering time), are controlled simultaneously by multiple genes and their interactions with the environment. Here, we show that variation in sulfate content between wild Arabidopsis thaliana accessions Bay-0 and Shahdara is controlled by a major quantitative trait locus that results in a strong interaction with nitrogen availability in the soil. Combining genetic and biochemical results and using a candidate gene approach, we have cloned the underlying gene, showing how a single-amino acid substitution in a key enzyme of the assimilatory sulfate reduction pathway, adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate reductase, is responsible for a decrease in enzyme activity, leading to sulfate accumulation in the plant. This work illustrates the potential of natural variation as a source of new alleles of known genes, which can aid in the study of gene function and metabolic pathway regulation. Our new insights on sulfate assimilation may have an impact on sulfur fertilizer use and stress defense improvement.

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