Phosphate starvation responses are mediated by sugar signaling in Arabidopsis

Planta. 2007 Mar;225(4):907-18. doi: 10.1007/s00425-006-0408-8.


Phosphate (Pi) is one of the least available plant nutrients in soils. It is associated with dynamic changes in carbon fluxes and several crucial processes that regulate plant growth and development. Pi levels regulate the expression of large number of genes including those involved in photosynthesis and carbon metabolism. Herein we show that sugar is required for Pi starvation responses including changes in root architecture and expression of phosphate starvation induced (PSI) genes in Arabidopsis. Active photosynthesis or the supplementation of sugar in the medium was essential for the expression of PSI genes under Pi limiting conditions. Expression of these genes was not only induced by sucrose but also detected, albeit at reduced levels, with other metabolizable sugars. Non-metabolizable sugar analogs did not induce the expression of PSI genes. Although sugar input appears to be down-stream of initial Pi sensing, it is absolutely required for the completion of the PSI signaling pathway. Altered expression of PSI genes in the hexokinase signaling mutant gin2 indicates that hexokinase-dependent signaling is involved in this process. The study provides evidence for requirement of sugars in PSI signaling and evokes a role for hexokinase in some components of Pi response mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hexokinase / metabolism*
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Photosynthesis / physiology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Sucrose / metabolism*


  • Phosphates
  • Sucrose
  • Hexokinase