Inter-organ signaling in plants: regulation of ATP sulfurylase and sulfate transporter genes expression in roots mediated by phloem-translocated compound

Plant J. 1999 Apr;18(1):89-95. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00416.x.


Sulfate uptake and ATP sulfurylase activity in the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica napus were enhanced by S deprivation and reduced following resupply of SO4(2-). Similar responses occurred in split-root experiments where only a portion of the root system was S-deprived, suggesting that the regulation involves inter-organ signaling. Phloem-translocated glutathione (GSH) was identified as the likely transducing molecule responsible for regulating SO4(2-) uptake rate and ATP sulfurylase activity in roots. The regulatory role of GSH was confirmed by the finding that ATP sulfurylase activity was inhibited by supplying Cys except in the presence of buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of GSH synthesis. In direct and remote (split-root) exposures, levels of protein detected by antibodies against the Arabidopsis APS3 ATP sulfurylase increased in the roots of A. thaliana and B. napus during S starvation, decreased after SO4(2-) restoration, and declined after feeding GSH. RNA blot analysis revealed that the transcript level of APS1, which codes for ATP sulfurylase, was reduced by direct and remote GSH treatments. The abundance of AST68 (a gene encoding an SO4(2-) transporter) was similarly affected by altered sulfur status. This report presents the first evidence for the regulation of root genes involved in nutrient acquisition and assimilation by a signal that is translocated from shoot to root.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Brassica / genetics*
  • Brassica / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sulfate Adenylyltransferase / genetics*
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • Sulfates / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • SLC26A4 protein, human
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • Sulfates
  • Sulfate Adenylyltransferase
  • Glutathione