Sulfur-Responsive Elements in the 3'-Nontranscribed Intergenic Region Are Essential for the Induction of SULFATE TRANSPORTER 2;1 Gene Expression in Arabidopsis Roots under Sulfur Deficiency

Plant Cell. 2015 Apr;27(4):1279-96. doi: 10.1105/tpc.114.134908. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anion Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Anion Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Sulfur / deficiency*


  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Sultr1;3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Sulfur