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Acclimation responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to sustained phosphite treatments

Berkowitz, O., Jost, R., Kollehn, D.O., Fenske, R., Finnegan, P.M., O'Brien, P.A., Hardy, G.E.S.J. and Lambers, H. (2013) Acclimation responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to sustained phosphite treatments. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64 (6). pp. 1731-1743.

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Phosphite () induces a range of physiological and developmental responses in plants by disturbing the homeostasis of the macronutrient phosphate. Because of its close structural resemblance to phosphate, phosphite impairs the sensing, membrane transport, and subcellular compartmentation of phosphate. In addition, phosphite induces plant defence responses by an as yet unknown mode of action. In this study, the acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana plants to a sustained phosphite supply in the growth medium was investigated and compared with plants growing under varying phosphate supplies. Unlike phosphate, phosphite did not suppress the formation of lateral roots in several Arabidopsis accessions. In addition, the expression of well-documented phosphate-starvation-induced genes, such as miRNA399d and At4, was not repressed by phosphite accumulation, whilst the induction of PHT1;1 and PAP1 was accentuated. Thus, a mimicking of phosphate by phosphite was not observed for these classical phosphate-starvation responses. Metabolomic analysis of phosphite-treated plants showed changes in several metabolite pools, most prominently those of aspartate, asparagine, glutamate, and serine. These alterations in amino acid pools provide novel insights for the understanding of phosphite-induced pathogen resistance.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: © 2013 The Authors.
Notes: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
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