Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #256423

Title: Quantitative trait loci, epigenetics, sugars, and microRNAs: quaternaries in phosphate acquisition and use

item Vance, Carroll

Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2010
Publication Date: 10/6/2010
Citation: Vance, C.P. 2010. Quantitative trait loci, epigenetics, sugars, and microRNAs: quaternaries in phosphate acquisition and use. Plant Physiology. 154(2):582-588.

Interpretive Summary: Phosphorus (P) is required for plant growth and development, but its availability is frequently limiting. Moreover, P is a nonrenewable resource and may become much more expensive as easily accessible sources are depleted. Plants have evolved numerous adaptive mechanisms for acclimation to P-deficiency. These mechanisms involve activation of metabolic, molecular, developmental, and regulatory processes that modify root architecture to increase soil volume exploration and recycling of internal P. Modification of root architecture is frequently accompanied by increased exudation of organic acids, protons, and enzymes to increase P availability. Recent advances in genomics and genetics suggest that plant acclimation to P-deficiency involves crosstalk between sugars and gene expression, including expression of microRNA399. The development of well-defined recombinant inbred lines and near inbred lines having P-tolerance coupled to next generation DNA and RNA sequencing will lead to identification of genes regulating adaptation to P-stress. Next generation sequencing will also be critical to defining whether epigenetic changes are involved in P-stress responses. Further understanding of biochemical and genetic regulation of plant acclimation to P-stress will pave the way to developing crop plants with enhanced P-acquisition and use. Developing crops with enhanced P-acquisition and use will reduce the need for high applications of P-fertilizers.

Technical Abstract: Phosphorus (P) is a critical element for plant growth and is frequently the limiting nutrient in many soils. Continued production and application of P fertilizer relies on a nonrenewable resource which will peak in about 2050. This will result in significantly increased cost, particularly for developing countries. Significant research efforts in genomics of P stress have shown that many suites of genes regulated in a coordinated fashion are involved in plant acclimation to P deficiency. These genomic studies, in conjunction with traditional plant breeding, have shown that P-acclimation traits are controlled by multiple genes most probably in quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Future development of near isogenic lines (NILs) and recombinant inbred lines (RILs) coupled to next generation sequencing will facilitate the cloning of genes in QTL regulating P-deficiency acclimation. Defining the role of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in adaptation to abiotic stress will provide new targets for improving plant adaptation to P-starvation. Crosstalk between sugars, miRNAs, and P-starvation induced gene expression may be significant to understanding the fundamental underpinning of plant adaptation to nutrient stresses. Plants with highly efficient P acquisition and use could reduce the need for P fertilizer in the developed world, thereby ameliorating overuse of P while concurrently enhancing yield in the developing world where P is frequently unavailable.