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J Integr Plant Biol. 2018 Mar;60(3):216-231. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12604. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Characterization of the soybean GmALMT family genes and the function of GmALMT5 in response to phosphate starvation.

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State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources, Root Biology Center, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China.
Root Biology Center, Hai Xia Institute of Science and Technology, Fu Jian Agricultural and Forest University, Fuzhou 350002, China.


A potential mechanism to enhance utilization of sparingly soluble forms of phosphorus (P) is the root secretion of malate, which is mainly mediated by the ALMT gene family in plants. In this study, a total of 34 GmALMT genes were identified in the soybean genome. Expression patterns diverged considerably among GmALMTs in response to phosphate (Pi) starvation in leaves, roots and flowers, with expression altered by P availability in 26 of the 34 GmALMTs. One root-specific GmALMT whose expression was significantly enhanced by Pi-starvation, GmALMT5, was studied in more detail to determine its possible role in soybean P nutrition. Analysis of GmALMT5 tissue expression patterns, subcellular localization, and malate exudation from transgenic soybean hairy roots overexpressing GmALMT5, demonstrated that GmALMT5 is a plasma membrane protein that mediates malate efflux from roots. Furthermore, both growth and P content of transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing GmALMT5 were significantly increased when sparingly soluble Ca-P was used as the external P source. Taken together, these results indicate that members of the soybean GmALMT gene family exhibit diverse responses to Pi starvation. One member of this family, GmALMT5, might contribute to soybean P efficiency by enhancing utilization of sparingly soluble P sources under P limited conditions.

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