Depletion of finite global rock phosphate (Pi) reserves will impose major limitations on future agricultural productivity and food security. Hence, modern breeding programmes seek to develop Pi-efficient crops with sustainable yields under reduced Pi fertilizer inputs. In this regard, although the long-term responses of plants to Pi stress are well documented, the early signalling events have yet to be elucidated. Here, we show plant tissue-specific responses to early Pi stress at the transcription level and a predominant role of the plant vascular system in this process. Specifically, imposition of Pi stress induces rapid and major changes in the mRNA population in the phloem translocation stream, and grafting studies have revealed that many hundreds of phloem-mobile mRNAs are delivered to specific sink tissues. We propose that the shoot vascular system acts as the site of root-derived Pi stress perception, and the phloem serves to deliver a cascade of signals to various sinks, presumably to coordinate whole-plant Pi homeostasis.
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We thank J. Zeng, W.-c. Hu and S. Zhang for technical support. This work was supported by grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA; 201015479 to W.J.L. and L.V.K.) and the National Science Foundation (IOS-1339128 to W.J.L.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Zhang, Z., Zheng, Y., Ham, B. et al. Vascular-mediated signalling involved in early phosphate stress response in plants. Nature Plants 2, 16033 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2016.33
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