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A phytochrome-B-mediated regulatory mechanism of phosphorus acquisition

Nature Plantsvolume 4pages10891101 (2018) | Download Citation


Phosphorus (P) is a key macronutrient whose availability has a profound effect on plant growth and productivity. The understanding of the mechanism underlying P availability-responsive P acquisition has expanded largely in the past decade; however, effects of other environmental factors on P acquisition and utilization remain elusive. Here, by imaging natural variation in phosphate uptake in 200 natural accessions of Arabidopsis, we identify two accessions with low phosphate uptake activity, Lm-2 and CSHL-5. In these accessions, natural variants of phytochrome B were found to cause both decreased light sensitivity and lower phosphate uptake. Furthermore, we also found that expression levels of phosphate starvation-responsive genes are directly modulated by phytochrome interacting factors (PIF) PIF4/PIF5 and HY5 transcription factors whose activity is under the control of phytochromes. These findings disclose a new molecular mechanism underlying red-light-induced activation of phosphate uptake, which is responsible for different activity for P acquisition in some natural accessions of Arabidopsis.

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We thank the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center for seeds from the transfer-DNA lines, J. Paz-Ares (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain) for seeds of the phr1 phl1 mutant and M. Tsumura in our laboratory for assistance in plant cultivation. This work was supported in part by JST CREST grant number JPMJCR 15O5 to S.Y. and K.I., JSPS KAKENHI grant number 26221103 to K.I. and S.Y., and grant numbers 25252014 to S.Y., 17H05024 to Y.S. and 16H07045 to K.M.

Author information


  1. Plant Functional Biotechnology, Biotechnology Research Center, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

    • Yasuhito Sakuraba
    • , Satomi Kanno
    •  & Shuichi Yanagisawa
  2. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

    • Atsushi Mabuchi
    • , Keina Monda
    •  & Koh Iba


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Y.S. and S.Y. designed the research. Y.S. performed experiments. S.K., A.M., K.M. and K.I. provided the new analytical tools and plant materials used in this study. Y.S. and S.Y. analysed the data and wrote the article.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shuichi Yanagisawa.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–21

  2. Reporting Summary

  3. Supplementary Tables 1–6

    Supplementary Table 1: List of Arabidopsis accessions used in this study and their Pi uptake activities. Supplementary Table 2: Genes upregulated or downregulated in pif4 pif5 seedlings grown under the standard Pi condition. Supplementary Table 3: Genes upregulated or downregulated in pif4 pif5 seedlings grown under the Pi-deficient condition. Supplementary Table 4: List of Arabidopsis mutants used in this study. Supplementary Table 5: List of primer sequences used in this study. Supplementary Table 6: List of Arabidopsis accessions used for GWAS.

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