Functional biology of plant phosphate uptake at root and mycorrhiza interfaces

New Phytol. 2007;173(1):11-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01935.x.


Phosphorus (P) is an essential plant nutrient and one of the most limiting in natural habitats as well as in agricultural production world-wide. The control of P acquisition efficiency and its subsequent uptake and translocation in vascular plants is complex. The physiological role of key cellular structures in plant P uptake and underlying molecular mechanisms are discussed in this review, with emphasis on phosphate transport across the cellular membrane at the root and arbuscular-mycorrhizal (AM) interfaces. The tools of molecular genetics have facilitated novel approaches and provided one of the major driving forces in the investigation of the basic transport mechanisms underlying plant P nutrition. Genetic engineering holds the potential to modify the system in a targeted way at the root-soil or AM symbiotic interface. Such approaches should assist in the breeding of crop plants that exhibit improved P acquisition efficiency and thus require lower inputs of P fertilizer for optimal growth. Whether engineering of P transport systems can contribute to enhanced P uptake will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Crops, Agricultural / cytology
  • Crops, Agricultural / microbiology
  • Crops, Agricultural / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Genomics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Mycorrhizae / genetics
  • Mycorrhizae / growth & development
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology*
  • Phosphate Transport Proteins / analysis
  • Phosphate Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Phosphate Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / microbiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Phosphate Transport Proteins
  • Phosphates
  • Plant Proteins