Journal Article

Metabolite Profiling Reveals Distinct Changes in Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in Phosphate-Deficient Barley Plants (<i>Hordeum vulgare</i> L.)

Chun Y. Huang, Ute Roessner, Ira Eickmeier, Yusuf Genc, Damien L. Callahan, Neil Shirley, Peter Langridge and Antony Bacic

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 49, issue 5, pages 691-703
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcn044
Metabolite Profiling Reveals Distinct Changes in Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in Phosphate-Deficient Barley Plants (Hordeum vulgare L.)

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Plants modify metabolic processes for adaptation to low phosphate (P) conditions. Whilst transcriptomic analyses show that P deficiency changes hundreds of genes related to various metabolic processes, there is limited information available for global metabolite changes of P-deficient plants, especially for cereals. As changes in metabolites are the ultimate ‘readout’ of changes in gene expression, we profiled polar metabolites from both shoots and roots of P-deficient barley (Hordeum vulgare) using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results showed that mildly P-deficient plants accumulated di- and trisaccharides (sucrose, maltose, raffinose and 6-kestose), especially in shoots. Severe P deficiency increased the levels of metabolites related to ammonium metabolism in addition to di- and trisaccharides, but reduced the levels of phosphorylated intermediates (glucose-6-P, fructose-6-P, inositol-1-P and glycerol-3-P) and organic acids (α-ketoglutarate, succinate, fumarate and malate). The results revealed that P-deficient plants modify carbohydrate metabolism initially to reduce P consumption, and salvage P from small P-containing metabolites when P deficiency is severe, which consequently reduced levels of organic acids in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. The extent of the effect of severe P deficiency on ammonium metabolism was also revealed by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) quantitative analysis of free amino acids. A sharp increase in the concentrations of glutamine and asparagine was observed in both shoots and roots of severely P-deficient plants. Based on these data, a strategy for improving the ability of cereals to adapt to low P environments is proposed that involves alteration in partitioning of carbohydrates into organic acids and amino acids to enable more efficient utilization of carbon in P-deficient plants.

Keywords: Ammonium; Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.); Carbohydrate; Metabolite profile; Phosphate deficiency

Journal Article.  8360 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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