Under sulfur deficiency (-S), plants induce expression of the sulfate transport systems in roots to increase uptake and root-to-shoot transport of sulfate. The low-affinity sulfate transporter SULTR2;1 is predominantly expressed in xylem parenchyma and pericycle cells in Arabidopsis thaliana roots under -S. The mechanisms underlying -S-inducible expression of SULTR2;1 in roots have remained unclear, despite the possible significance of SULTR2;1 for acclimation to low-sulfur conditions. In this investigation, examination of deletions and base substitutions in the 3'-intergenic region of SULTR2;1 revealed novel sulfur-responsive elements, SURE21A (5'-CAATGTATC-3') and SURE21B (5'-CTAGTAC-3'), located downstream of the SULTR2;1 3'-untranslated region. SURE21A and SULTR21B effectively induced reporter gene expression from fusion constructs under -S in combination with minimal promoters or promoters not inducible by -S, suggesting their versatility in controlling transcription. T-DNA insertions near SURE21A and SULTR21B abolished -S-inducible expression of SULTR2;1 in roots and reduced the uptake and root-to-shoot transport of sulfate. In addition, these mutations partially suppressed SULTR2;1 expression in shoots, without changing its -S-responsive expression. These findings indicate that SULTR2;1 contributes to the increase in uptake and internal translocation of sulfate driven by gene expression induced under the control of sulfur-responsive elements in the 3'-nontranscribed intergenic region of SULTR2;1.
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