Phosphate-Starvation-Inducible S-Like RNase Genes in Rice Are Involved in Phosphate Source Recycling by RNA Decay

Front Plant Sci. 2020 Nov 30:11:585561. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.585561. eCollection 2020.


The fine-tuning of inorganic phosphate (Pi) for enhanced use efficiency has long been a challenging subject in agriculture, particularly in regard to rice as a major crop plant. Among ribonucleases (RNases), the RNase T2 family is broadly distributed across kingdoms, but little has been known on its substrate specificity compared to RNase A and RNase T1 families. Class I and class II of the RNase T2 family are defined as the S-like RNase (RNS) family and have showed the connection to Pi recycling in Arabidopsis. In this study, we first carried out a phylogenetic analysis of eight rice and five Arabidopsis RNS genes and identified mono-specific class I and dicot-specific class I RNS genes, suggesting the possibility of functional diversity between class I RNS family members in monocot and dicot species through evolution. We then compared the in silico expression patterns of all RNS genes in rice and Arabidopsis under normal and Pi-deficient conditions and further confirmed the expression patterns of rice RNS genes via qRT-PCR analysis. Subsequently, we found that most of the OsRNS genes were differentially regulated under Pi-deficient treatment. Association of Pi recycling by RNase activity in rice was confirmed by measuring total RNA concentration and ribonuclease activity of shoot and root samples under Pi-sufficient or Pi-deficient treatment during 21 days. The total RNA concentrations were decreased by < 60% in shoots and < 80% in roots under Pi starvation, respectively, while ribonuclease activity increased correspondingly. We further elucidate the signaling pathway of Pi starvation through upregulation of the OsRNS genes. The 2-kb promoter region of all OsRNS genes with inducible expression patterns under Pi deficiency contains a high frequency of P1BS cis-acting regulatory element (CRE) known as the OsPHR2 binding site, suggesting that the OsRNS family is likely to be controlled by OsPHR2. Finally, the dynamic transcriptional regulation of OsRNS genes by overexpression of OsPHR2, ospho2 mutant, and overexpression of OsPT1 lines involved in Pi signaling pathway suggests the molecular basis of OsRNS family in Pi recycling via RNA decay under Pi starvation.

Keywords: RNA degradation; S-like RNases; phosphate recycling; phosphate starvation; rice.