A Phosphate-Starvation Induced RING-Type E3 Ligase Maintains Phosphate Homeostasis Partially Through OsSPX2 in Rice

Plant Cell Physiol. 2018 Dec 1;59(12):2564-2575. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcy176.


Phosphate (Pi), as the main form of phosphorus that can be absorbed by plants, is one of the most limiting macro-nutrients for plants. However, the mechanism for maintaining Pi homeostasis in rice (Oryza sativa) is still not well understood. We identified a Pi-starvation-induced E3 ligase (OsPIE1) in rice. Using an in vitro self-ubiquitination assay, we determined the E3 ligase activities of OsPIE1. Using GUS staining and GFP detection, we analyzed tissue expression patterns of OsPIE1 and the subcellular localization of its encoded protein. The function of OsPIE1 in Pi homeostasis was analyzed using OsPIE1 overexpressors and ospie1 mutants. OsPIE1 was localized to the nucleus, and expressed in epidermis, exodermis and sclerenchyma layers of primary root. Under Pi-sufficient condition, overexpression of OsPIE1 upregulated the expression of OsPT2, OsPT3, OsPT10 and OsPAP21b, resulting in Pi accumulation and acid phosphatases (APases) induction in roots. OsSPX2 was strongly suppressed in OsPIE1 overexpressors. Further comparative transcriptome analysis, tissue expression patterns and genetic interaction analysis indicated that the enhancing of Pi accumulation and APase activities upon overexpression of OsPIE1 was (at least in part) caused by repression of OsSPX2. These results indicate that OsPIE1 plays an important role in maintaining Pi homeostasis in rice.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Homeostasis*
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Oryza / enzymology*
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / growth & development
  • Phosphates / deficiency*
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Transcriptome
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Phosphates
  • Plant Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Acid Phosphatase