Journal Article

Sugar signalling mediates cluster root formation and phosphorus starvation-induced gene expression in white lupin

Keqin Zhou, Masumi Yamagishi, Mitsuru Osaki and Kiyoshi Masuda

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 10, pages 2749-2756
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:

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Cluster root (CR) formation contributes much to the adaptation to phosphorus (P) deficiency. CR formation by white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) is affected by the P-limiting level in shoots, but not in roots. Thus, shoot-derived signals have been expected to transmit the message of P-deficiency to stimulate CR formation. In this study, it is shown that sugars are required for a response to P starvation including CR formation and the expression of P starvation-induced genes. White lupin plants were grown in vitro on P-sufficient or P-deficient media supplemented with sucrose for 4 weeks. Sucrose supply stimulated CR formation in plants on both P-sufficient and P-deficient media, but no CR appeared on the P-sufficient medium without sucrose. Glucose and fructose also stimulated CR formation on the P-sufficient medium. On the medium with sucrose, a high concentration of inorganic phosphate in leaves did not suppress CR formation. Because sorbitol or organic acid in the media did not stimulate CR formation, the sucrose effect was not due to increased osmotic pressure or enriched energy source, that is, sucrose acted as a signal. Gene transcription induced by P starvation, LaPT1 and LaPEPC3, was magnified by the combination of P limitation and sucrose feeding, and that of LaSAP was stimulated by sucrose supply independently of P supply. These results suggest that at least two sugar-signalling mediating systems control P starvation responses in white lupin roots. One system regulates CR formation and LaSAP expression, which acts even when P is sufficient if roots receive sugar as a signal. The other system controls LaPT1 and LaPEPC3 expression, which acts when P is insufficient.

Keywords: Hexose; Lupinus albus L.; phosphorus deficiency; proteoid root; sucrose

Journal Article.  4698 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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