A new class of plant lipid is essential for protection against phosphorus depletion

Nat Commun. 2013;4:1510. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2512.


Phosphorus supply is a major factor responsible for reduced crop yields. As a result, plants utilize various adaptive mechanisms against phosphorus depletion, including lipid remodelling. Here we report the involvement of a novel plant lipid, glucuronosyldiacylglycerol, against phosphorus depletion. Lipidomic analysis of Arabidopsis plants cultured in phosphorus-depleted conditions revealed inducible accumulation of glucuronosyldiacylglycerol. Investigation using a series of sulfolipid sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol synthesis-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis determined that the biosynthesis of glucuronosyldiacylglycerol shares the pathway of sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol synthesis in chloroplasts. Under phosphorus-depleted conditions, the Arabidopsis sqd2 mutant, which does not accumulate either sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol or glucuronosyldiacylglycerol, was the most severely damaged of three sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol-deficient mutants. As glucuronosyldiacylglycerol is still present in the other two mutants, this result indicates that glucuronosyldiacylglycerol has a role in the protection of plants against phosphorus limitation stress. Glucuronosyldiacylglycerol was also found in rice, and its concentration increased significantly following phosphorus limitation, suggesting a shared physiological significance of this novel lipid against phosphorus depletion in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / drug effects
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Glycolipids / biosynthesis
  • Glycolipids / chemistry
  • Glycolipids / deficiency
  • Glycolipids / metabolism*
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Metabolomics
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Oryza / drug effects
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorus / deficiency*
  • Phosphorus / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism


  • Glycolipids
  • glucuronosyl diacylglycerol
  • sulfoquinovosyl diglyceride
  • Phosphorus