Analysis of the natural genetic variation of phosphite sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana
Kollehn, D., Hardy, G.E.St.J., O'Brien, P. and Berkowitz, O. (2013) Analysis of the natural genetic variation of phosphite sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana. In: ComBio 2013, 29 September - 3 October, Perth, Western Australia.
Phosphorus is one of the most critical macronutrients for plants and taken up from the soil in the form of phosphate (H2PO4-, Pi) by specific transporters. It is frequently a growth limiting factor due to low availability in the soil. Hence plants have developed strategies to adjust to Pi starvation with adaptations including the alteration of root architecture or the secretion of organic acids to raise Pi uptake capacity. Pi depleted plants also increase the expression of genes involved in Pi acquisition, e.g. Pi transporters and purple acid phosphatases. Phosphite (H2PO3-, Phi) is the reduced form of Pi and taken up by plants through phosphate transporters. Although metabolically inert, Phi is able to suppress Pi starvation responses which exacerbates Pi depletion leading to an inhibition of plant growth. In addition, Phi induces plant defence responses and effectively inhibits colonisation by oomycete pathogens (e.g. Phytophthora spp.), which have devastating effects in horticultural and native ecosystems. Although phosphite is the only reliable measure to control these pathogens its mode of action remains unclear. To better understand the effects of Phi on plant growth and induced pathogen resistance we are analysing the genetic basis of Phi sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana. We have investigated the phenotypic responses of 18 Arabidopsis accessions and EMS mutagenized lines to Phi treatment. This has led to the identification of a major QTL and also a mutant line with increased phosphite tolerance. Findings from this research will improve our knowledge of the mode of phosphite action in plant defence responses, and may have implications for the understanding of Pi signalling or metabolism.
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