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Planta. 2013 May;237(5):1267-77. doi: 10.1007/s00425-013-1842-z. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

The expression of GintPT, the phosphate transporter of Rhizophagus irregularis, depends on the symbiotic status and phosphate availability.

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  • 1Institute for Plant Protection, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Viale Mattioli 25, 10125, Turin, Italy.


The development of mutualistic interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is one of the most important adaptation of terrestrial plants to face mineral nutrition requirements. As an essential plant nutrient, phosphorus uptake is acknowledged as a major benefit of the AM symbiosis, but the molecular mechanisms of its transport as inorganic phosphate (Pi) from the soil to root cells via AM fungi remain poorly known. Here we monitored the expression profile of the high-affinity phosphate transporter (PT) gene (GintPT) of Rhizophagus irregularis (DAOM 197198) in fungal structures (spores, extraradical mycelium and arbuscules), under different Pi availability, and in respect to plant connection. GintPT resulted constitutively expressed along the major steps of the fungal life cycle and the connection with the host plant was crucial to warrant GintPT high expression levels in the extraradical mycelium. The influence of Pi availability on gene expression of the fungal GintPT and the Medicago truncatula symbiosis-specific Pi transporter (MtPT4) was examined by qRT-PCR assay on microdissected arbusculated cells. The expression profiles of both genes revealed that these transporters are sensitive to changing Pi conditions: we observed that MtPT4 mRNA abundance is higher at 320 than at 32 μM suggesting that the flow towards the plant requires high concentrations. Taken on the whole, the findings highlight novel traits for the functioning of the GintPT gene and offer a molecular scenario to the models describing nutrient transfers as a cooperation between the mycorrhizal partners.

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