[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently demonstrated that microRNA399 (miR399) controls inorganic phosphate (Pi) homeostasis by regulating the expression of UBC24 encoding a ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzyme in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Transgenic plants overexpressing miR399 accumulated excessive Pi in the shoots and displayed Pi toxic symptoms. In this study, we revealed that a previously identified Pi overaccumulator, pho2, is caused by a single nucleotide mutation resulting in early termination within the UBC24 gene. The level of full-length UBC24 mRNA was reduced and no UBC24 protein was detected in the pho2 mutant, whereas up-regulation of miR399 by Pi deficiency was not affected. Several characteristics of Pi toxicity in the pho2 mutant were similar to those in the miR399-overexpressing and UBC24 T-DNA knockout plants: both Pi uptake and translocation of Pi from roots to shoots increased and Pi remobilization within leaves was impaired. These phenotypes of the pho2 mutation could be rescued by introduction of a wild-type copy of UBC24. Kinetic analyses revealed that greater Pi uptake in the pho2 and miR399-overexpressing plants is due to increased Vmax. The transcript level of most PHT1 Pi transporter genes was not significantly altered, except PHT1;8 whose expression was enhanced in Pi-sufficient roots of pho2 and miR399-overexpressing compared with wild-type plants. In addition, changes in the expression of several organelle-specific Pi transporters were noticed, which may be associated with the redistribution of intracellular Pi under excess Pi. Furthermore, miR399 and UBC24 were colocalized in the vascular cylinder. This observation not only provides important insight into the interaction between miR399 and UBC24 mRNA, but also supports their systemic function in Pi translocation and remobilization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we reveal a mechanism by which plants regulate inorganic phosphate (Pi) homeostasis to adapt to environmental changes in Pi availability. This mechanism involves the suppression of a ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzyme by a specific microRNA, miR399. Upon Pi starvation, the miR399 is upregulated and its target gene, a ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzyme, is downregulated in Arabidopsis thaliana. Accumulation of the E2 transcript is suppressed in transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing miR399. Transgenic plants accumulated five to six times the normal Pi level in shoots and displayed Pi toxicity symptoms that were phenocopied by a loss-of-function E2 mutant. Pi toxicity was caused by increased Pi uptake and by translocation of Pi from roots to shoots and retention of Pi in the shoots. Moreover, unlike wild-type plants, in which Pi in old leaves was readily retranslocated to other developing young tissues, remobilization of Pi in miR399-overexpressing plants was impaired. These results provide evidence that miRNA controls Pi homeostasis by regulating the expression of a component of the proteolysis machinery in plants.
The Plant Cell 03/2006; 18(2):412-21. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vernalization is required to induce flowering in cabbage (Brassica oleracea var Capitata L.). Since FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) was identified as a major repressor of flowering in the vernalization pathway in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), two homologs of AtFLC, BoFLC3-2 and BoFLC4-1, were isolated from cabbage to investigate the molecular mechanism of vernalization in cabbage flowering. In addition to the sequence homology, the genomic organization of cabbage FLC is similar to that of AtFLC, except that BoFLC has a relatively smaller intron 1 compared to that of AtFLC. A vernalization-mediated decrease in FLC transcript level was correlated with an increase in FT transcript level in the apex of cabbage. This observation is in agreement with the down-regulation of FT by FLC in Arabidopsis. Yet, unlike that in Arabidopsis, the accumulation of cabbage FLC transcript decreased after cold treatment of leafy plants but not imbibed seeds, which is consistent with the promotion of cabbage flowering by vernalizing adult plants rather than seeds. To further dissect the different regulation of FLC expression between seed-vernalization-responsive species (e.g. Arabidopsis) and plant-vernalization-responsive species (e.g. cabbage), the pBoFLC4-1BoFLC4-1GUS construct was introduced into Arabidopsis to examine its vernalization response. Down-regulation of the BoFLC4-1GUS construct by seed vernalization was unstable and incomplete; in addition, the expression of BoFLC4-1GUS was not suppressed by vernalization of transgenic rosette-stage Arabidopsis plants. We propose a hypothesis to illustrate the distinct mechanism by which vernalization regulates the expression of FLC in cabbage and Arabidopsis.