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Plant Physiol. 1999 Jan;119(1):241-8.

The down-regulation of Mt4-like genes by phosphate fertilization occurs systemically and involves phosphate translocation to the shoots.

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  • 1The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Plant Biology Division, 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402, USA.


Mt4 is a cDNA representing a phosphate-starvation-inducible gene from Medicago truncatula that is down-regulated in roots in response to inorganic phosphate (Pi) fertilization and colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Split-root experiments revealed that the expression of the Mt4 gene in M. truncatula roots is down-regulated systemically by both Pi fertilization and colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. A comparison of Pi levels in these tissues suggested that this systemic down-regulation is not caused by Pi accumulation. Using a 30-bp region of the Mt4 gene as a probe, Pi-starvation-inducible Mt4-like genes were detected in Arabidopsis and soybean (Glycine max L.), but not in corn (Zea mays L.). Analysis of the expression of the Mt4-like Arabidopsis gene, At4, in wild-type Arabidopsis and pho1, a mutant unable to load Pi into the xylem, suggests that Pi must first be translocated to the shoot for down-regulation to occur. The data from the pho1 and split-root studies are consistent with the presence of a translocatable shoot factor responsible for mediating the systemic down-regulation of Mt4-like genes in roots.

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