Phosphate and zinc transport and signalling in plants: toward a better understanding of their homeostasis interaction

J Exp Bot. 2014 Nov;65(20):5725-41. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru314. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Inorganic phosphate (Pi) and zinc (Zn) are two essential nutrients for plant growth. In soils, these two minerals are either present in low amounts or are poorly available to plants. Consequently, worldwide agriculture has become dependent on external sources of Pi and Zn fertilizers to increase crop yields. However, this strategy is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable in the long term, particularly for Pi, which is a non-renewable resource. To date, research has emphasized the analysis of mineral nutrition considering each nutrient individually, and showed that Pi and Zn homeostasis is highly regulated in a complex process. Interestingly, numerous observations point to an unexpected interconnection between the homeostasis of the two nutrients. Nevertheless, despite their fundamental importance, the molecular bases and biological significance of these interactions remain largely unknown. Such interconnections can account for shortcomings of current agronomic models that typically focus on improving the assimilation of individual elements. Here, current knowledge on the regulation of the transport and signalling of Pi and Zn individually is reviewed, and then insights are provided on the recent progress made towards a better understanding of the Zn-Pi homeostasis interaction in plants.

Keywords: Cross-talk; homeostasis; phosphate; signalling; transport; zinc..

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Biological Transport
  • Fertilizers
  • Homeostasis*
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Fertilizers
  • Phosphates
  • Zinc