Plant response to phosphorus starvation includes the increased production and secretion of acid phosphatase. We have isolated a mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., phosphatase-underproducer 1 (pup1), that has reduced histochemical staining for acid phosphatase activity in roots of plants grown under phosphorus-starvation conditions. Although pup1 is defective in the production of one inducible acid phosphatase isoform, the most abundant inducible isoform is present. The pup1 mutants are able to respond to phosphorus-deficient conditions by an increase in overall levels of acid phosphatase activity, accumulation of anthocyanins, an increase of the root-to-shoot ratio, and changes in the partitioning of phosphorus between roots and shoots. The gross morphology of the mutants appears normal, except that a small difference in the root to shoot ratio was observed in plants grown under nonstressed conditions. The pup1 gene is incompletely dominant and it is located between 40.2 (+/- 6.2) and 44.9 (+/- 9.9) cM on chromosome 2. This mutant will be useful for determining the role of this acid phosphatase isoform in plant response to phosphorus starvation.