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Planta. 2012 Jun;235(6):1197-207. doi: 10.1007/s00425-011-1568-8. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

How do nitrogen and phosphorus deficiencies affect strigolactone production and exudation?

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  • 1Weed Science Center, Utsunomiya University, 350 Mine-machi, Utsunomiya 321-8505, Japan.


Plants exude strigolactones (SLs) to attract symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the rhizosphere. Previous studies have demonstrated that phosphorus (P) deficiency, but not nitrogen (N) deficiency, significantly promotes SL exudation in red clover, while in sorghum not only P deficiency but also N deficiency enhances SL exudation. There are differences between plant species in SL exudation under P- and N-deficient conditions, which may possibly be related to differences between legumes and non-legumes. To investigate this possibility in detail, the effects of N and P deficiencies on SL exudation were examined in Fabaceae (alfalfa and Chinese milk vetch), Asteraceae (marigold and lettuce), Solanaceae (tomato), and Poaceae (wheat) plants. In alfalfa as expected, and unexpectedly in tomato, only P deficiency promoted SL exudation. In contrast, in Chinese milk vetch, a leguminous plant, and in the other non-leguminous plants examined, N deficiency as well as P deficiency enhanced SL exudation. Distinct reductions in shoot P levels were observed in plants grown under N deficiency, except for tomato, in which shoot P level was increased by N starvation, suggesting that the P status of the shoot regulates SL exudation. There seems to be a correlation between shoot P levels and SL exudation across the species/families investigated.

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