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A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae

A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular... Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae Vicente Rubio, Francisco Linhares, Roberto Solano, Ana C. Martín, Joaquín Iglesias, Antonio Leyva, and Javier Paz-Ares Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain Plants have evolved a number of adaptive responses to cope with growth in conditions of limited phosphate (Pi) supply involving biochemical, metabolic, and developmental changes. We prepared an EMS-mutagenized M population of an Arabidopsis thaliana transgenic line harboring a reporter gene specifically responsive to Pi starvation (AtIPS1GUS), and screened for mutants altered in Pi starvation regulation. One of the mutants, phr1 (phosphate starvation response 1), displayed reduced response of AtIPS1GUS to Pi starvation, and also had a broad range of Pi starvation responses impaired, including the responsiveness of various other Pi starvation-induced genes and metabolic responses, such as the increase in anthocyanin accumulation. PHR1 was positionally cloned and shown be related to the PHOSPHORUS STARVATION RESPONSE 1 (PSR1) gene from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.AGFPPHR1protein fusion was localized in the nucleus independently of Pi status, as is the case for PSR1. PHR1 is expressed in Pi sufficient conditions and, in contrast to PSR1,is only weakly responsive to Pi starvation. PHR1, PSR1, and other members of the protein family share a MYB domain and a predicted coiled–coil (CC) domain, defining a subtype within the MYB superfamily, the MYB–CC family. Therefore, PHR1was found to bind as a dimer to an imperfect palindromic sequence. PHR1-binding sequences are present in the promoter of Pi starvation-responsive structural genes, indicating that this protein acts downstream in the Pi starvation signaling pathway. [Key Words: Arabidopsis thaliana; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; coiled–coil domain; MYB domain; Pi starvation; transcription factor] Received April 5, 2001; revised version accepted June 13, 2001. Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient for growth and availability of endogenous and exogenous inorganic development of living organisms. It is a constituent of phosphate (Pi), including increased secretion of organic key molecules such as ATP, nucleic acids, or phospho- acids from roots, the induction of high affinity phosphate lipids, and as phosphate, pyrophosphate, ATP, ADP, or transporters, RNases, and phosphatases (Clarkson 1985; AMP, plays a crucial role in energy transfer, metabolic Lipton et al. 1987; Goldstein et al. 1988; Krannitz et al. regulation, and protein activation (Marschner 1995). 1991; Theodorou and Plaxton 1993; Bariola et al. 1994; Phosphorus is one of the most limiting nutrients for Duff et al. 1994; Green 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; Smith plants because the form that is preferentially assimi- et al. 1997; C.M. Liu et al. 1998; H. Liu et al. 1998) and lable, phosphate (Pi), is unevenly distributed in soils and changes in thylakoid lipid composition, whereby a de- >80% is immobile and not readily available to roots crease in phosphatidylglycerol is accompanied by an in- (Holford 1997). crease in sulpholipids (Essigmann et al. 1998). Additional Plants have evolved adaptive responses to cope with adaptations involve alterations in the rate of photosyn- growth under conditions of limited phosphate availabil- thesis and photosynthate partitioning, the accumulation ity (for review, see Raghothama 1999). Biochemical and of the light protecting, anthocyanin pigments, and the metabolic adaptations involve changes that increase the utilization of alternative glycolytic or respiration path- ways (Duff et al. 1989). These alternative glycolytic and respiratory pathways circumvent steps requiring phos- phate or adenylate, contributing to the plant survival Present address: BIONOSTRA S.L., Ronda de Poniente 6, 2°-C, Tres during prolonged periods of phosphate deprivation (Duff Cantos, 28760 Madrid, Spain. Corresponding author. et al. 1989). E-MAIL jpazares@cnb.uam.es; FAX 34-91-585-4506. Developmental responses involve changes in root Article and publication are at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/ gad.204401. growth and architecture that enhance the exploitation of 2122 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 15:2122–2133 © 2001 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/01 $5.00; www.genesdev.org Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling soil phosphate resources and include increases in root/ Results shoot ratio, root hair proliferation and length, and lateral Isolation of the phosphate starvation response root number (Bates and Lynch 1996). Some plants further mutant phr1 modify the soil scavenging potential of their roots by forming lateral proliferations (proteoids) or establishing The AtIPS1 gene, like other members of the Mt4/TPSI1 symbiotic associations with mycorrhizal fungi (for re- family, is specifically responsive to Pi starvation. A view, see Harrison 1999; Watt and Evans 1999). translational fusion between AtIPS1 and the coding re- Several genes responsive to Pi starvation have been gion of the GUS gene also displays a specific response to isolated recently from vascular plants (for review, see Pi starvation in transgenic A.thaliana plants (Martín et Raghothama 1999), and encode high-affinity Pi trans- al. 2000); transgenic plants harboring this reporter gene porters, acid phosphatases, and RNases, among other are therefore suitable for identifying mutants with al- proteins (Bariola et al. 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; C.M. tered Pi starvation responses. M seedlings of an EMS- Liu et al. 1998; H. Liu et al. 1998; del Pozo et al. 1999; mutagenized population were screened by use of a non- Haran et al. 2000). Members of the Mt4/TPSI1 gene fam- destructive GUS staining assay (Martin et al. 1997). Pu- ily are also characterized by their highly specific respon- tative mutants were identified as follows: nine-day-old siveness to Pi starvation. These genes encode RNAs with seedlings (∼25,000) grown in medium lacking Pi were short nonconserved reading frames (Burleigh and Harri- stained with GUS for 6 h, during which time plates were son 1997, 1999; Liu et al. 1997; Martín et al. 2000). The examined every hour. Seedlings showing reduced GUS existence of various genes responding to Pi starvation staining were selected as candidates for further analysis; suggests that plants are also endowed with a phosphate 17 mutant candidates were selected, and M progeny was starvation regulon, as is the case for yeast and Escherich- obtained from 15 of them. After preliminary phenotypic ia coli (for reviews, see Torriani 1990; Lenburg and analysis (not shown), phr1-1, which was affected in the O’Shea 1996). In contrast to the situation with these mi- expression of several Pi starvation-inducible genes, and croorganisms, very little is known about the mecha- which did not accumulate anthocyanin during Pi starva- nisms governing responses to phosphate starvation in tion stress (see following section and Figs. 1 and 2, be- vascular plants. Mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana have low), was selected for further analysis. been isolated that are affected in phosphate accumula- The fact that phr1-1 did not accumulate anthocyanin tion, such as pho1 or pho2, or an acid phosphatase activ- in response to Pi starvation suggested a simple screen for ity (Poirier et al. 1991; Delhaize and Randall 1995; Trull phr1 alleles. After pre-screening 100,000 seedlings grown and Deikman 1998), but the structural or regulatory under Pi starvation conditions for colorless cotyledons, roles of the genes are not known. In addition, several Pi followed by the analysis of GUS activity, we identified a starvation response mutants have been identified re- single additional mutant, phr1-2, with reduced GUS cently by use of an elegant conditional genetic screen staining. Results of crossing experiments (not shown) in- (Chen et al. 2000), but the corresponding genes have not dicated that both mutants were recessive and allelic. yet been identified. One regulatory gene of the Pi star- Prior to the phenotypic analysis (detailed in the next vation response has been identified and cloned from the section), the phr1-1 allele was backcrossed four times unicellular algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and with the wild-type transgenic reporter line. shown to encode a member of the MYB transcription factor superfamily (Wykoff et al. 1999). phr1 mutant alleles are impaired in different Pi We have taken advantage of the availability of trans- starvation responses genic A.thaliana plants harboring a reporter gene spe- cifically induced by Pi starvation (AtIPS1GUS; Martín In addition to the study of the expression of the et al. 2000) to initiate the molecular genetic dissection of AtIPS1GUS reporter gene, several metabolic and de- Pi starvation signaling. We report on the identification velopmental traits influenced by Pi starvation, as well as and characterization of a phosphate starvation response the expression of six Pi starvation-responsive genes, mutant, phr1, which is impaired in various aspects of the were examined in the phr1-1 and phr1-2 mutant alleles response, such as the induction of Pi starvation-respon- (Figs. 1 and 2, below). The phr1 mutations resulted in sive genes and anthocyanin synthesis. We show that reduced GUS activity driven by AtIPS1GUS in all parts PHR1 encodes a transcription factor related to the of Pi starved plants (Fig. 1A). In addition, Pi starvation- PHOSPHORUS STARVATION RESPONSE 1 (PSR1) induced increases in anthocyanin accumulation and, to a protein from C.reinhardtii, suggesting that the increase lesser, although in a statistically significant extent in complexity of the Pi starvation response during the (P < 0.02), in the root-to-shoot growth ratio, were im- evolution of multicellular vascular plants was achieved, paired in the plants homozygous for either of the phr1 at least in part, via recruitment of new functions under alleles (Fig. 1B,C). The effect of phr1 mutations on these the control of a MYB-based regulatory system pre-exist- two traits was specific for Pi starvation stress, as no sig- ing in unicellular photosynthetic ancestors. We also nificant difference was observed between mutant alleles show that PHR1 binds as a dimer to sequences present in and wild type in anthocyanin accumulation or on the the promoter of Pi starvation-responsive genes, in line with root/shoot growth ratio under nitrogen starvation condi- the presence in this protein of a coiled–coil domain shared tions (Fig. 1B,C). Moreover, the mutants showed in- with PSR1 and other members of the MYB–CC family. creased anthocyanin synthesis in response to the stress- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2123 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. Figure 1. Characterization of the phr1 mutant alleles. (A) Histochemical analysis of GUS activity driven by the AtIPS1GUS reporter gene in response to phosphate starvation in wild type (wt; left) and in the phr1-1 mutant (right). Scale bar, 1 cm. (B) Histograms of metabolic (anthocyanin and Pi content) and developmental (root/shoot growth ratio and total weight) parameters of the wild-type (wt) and phr1-1 (1-1) and phr1-2 (1-2) mutant alleles, grown under different nutrient regimes; complete medium (+P), Pi starvation (−P), or nitrogen starvation (−N) regimes. (C) Plates containing the wild-type (bottom) and the phr1-1 (left) and phr1-2 (right) mutant alleles grown on different nutrient regimes. Scale bars, 1 cm. (D) Detail showing root hairs of wild type and phr1-1 grown under Pi starvation conditions. Scale bar, 0.5 mm. The analyses were conducted on plants grown in complete medium for 5 d, then transferred to complete medium or to medium lacking Pi or N for 7 d, except in the cases of the Pi and N starvation shown in C, in which the starvation lasted for 12 d. Data represent means of at least six independent measurements. Standard deviations are indicated by bars. Statistically significant differences using the Student’s t test between wild-type and phr1 alleles were observed for anthocyanin accumulation, root-to-shoot growth ratio, and total weight for plants grown under Pi starvation conditions (P < 0.01), as well as for total Pi content for plants grown under Pi sufficient conditions (P < 0.02). related hormones abscisic acid and jasmonic acid similar PHR1 encodes a member of the MYB superfamily to wild-type plants (not shown). Both mutations resulted conserved between A. thaliana and C. reinhardtii in a statistically significant decrease in the Pi content of The PHR1 gene was cloned by a map-based chromosome the plant (P < 0.01) when plants were grown under Pi walking procedure on the basis of a cross between the sufficient conditions, and in a decrease in plant growth phr1-1 mutant (Columbia ecotype) and the Landsberg under Pi starvation conditions (P < 0.01; Fig. 1B). In con- wild-type ecotype. By use of 2100 F seedlings showing trast, no effect of the mutations of PHR1 was observed the phr1 phenotype, the PHR1 gene was mapped to chro- for the Pi starvation-induced increases in root hair length mosome 4 (between markers RPS2 and prha) by a series and number (Fig. 1D). of simple sequence length polymorphism markers (SSLP; The effect of the phr1 mutations on the expression of Bell and Ecker 1994) and cleaved, amplified, polymor- Pi starvation-induced genes was examined by use of phic sequences (CAPS; Konieczny and Ausubel 1993) Northern analysis. Six Pi starvation-induced genes were available in databases. The mapping was further refined analyzed, including AtIPS1 and At4, members of the by use of new SSLP markers generated from sequence Mt4/TPSI1 family (Burleigh and Harrison 1997; Martín information from the A.thaliana genome sequencing et al. 2000); AtPT1, AtACP5, and RNS1, encoding a high- project (see Materials and Methods). As a result, the affinity Pi transporter, an acid phosphatase, and a RNase, PHR1 locus was defined to a region of ∼120 kb between respectively (Bariola et al. 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; del BACs F20O9 and F16A16 (Fig. 3A). Within this region, Pozo et al. 1999); and AtIPS3, encoding a protein of un- known function (J.C. del Pozo, J. Iglesias, V. Rubio, A. candidate genes were considered that showed homology Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.). The Pi starvation induc- to yeast Pi starvation signaling genes (PHO80, PHO81, ibility of all six genes examined was reduced in the PHO85, PHO2, and PHO4) (Bajwa et al. 1984; Legrain et plants homozygous for either phr1 allele, the effect being al. 1986; Sengstag and Hinnen 1987; Madden et al. 1988; most pronounced on AtIPS1, At4, and RNS1 (Fig. 2). Gilliquet et al. 1990; Creasy et al. 1993) or to the recently 2124 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling nucleotide 1), which results in the replacement of Gln 192 with an ochre stop codon. The phr1-2 mutation is a G-to-A transition at nucleotide 838, which results in the loss of a splice donor site in the third intron, and prob- ably generates a truncated protein. The presence of a single repeat MYB domain classifies PHR1, as well as PSR1, as members of the MYB super- family of DNA-binding proteins. A singular characteris- tic of the PHR1 and PSR1 proteins is that they share a second motif predicted to adopt a coiled–coil conforma- tion (using COILS at www.ch.embnet.org/software/ COILS form.html), which is a potential dimerization motif. Searches in the SPTREMBL or EMBL databanks allowed us to identify 18 proteins (15 in A.thaliana) containing both domains (Fig. 4A). A phylogram of all of these proteins was constructed using the neighbor-join- ing method (Saitou and Nei 1987) of the CLUSTAL pro- Figure 2. Northern analysis of the effect of phr1 mutations on gram (Higgins et al. 1996). Two subgroups can be distin- the expression of Pi starvation-responsive genes. Wild-type and guished, with PHR1 and the C.reinhardtii PSR1 protein mutant phr1-1 and phr1-2 alleles were grown for5din complete belonging to the same subgroup (I) (Fig. 4B). medium, transferred to medium lacking Pi, and collected at 7 d. Total RNA was isolated and RNA gel blots containing 10 µg of these samples were hybridized to the AtIPS1 probe and subse- Sequence-specific binding of PHR1 in the promoter quently rehybridized to probes corresponding to the related of phosphate starvation-responsive genes gene as follows: At4 (Burleigh and Harrison 1999); Pi transporter AtPT1 (Muchhal et al. 1996); RNS1 gene (Bariola et al. 1994); To test the sequence-specific DNA-binding properties of type 5 acid phosphatase AtACP5 (del Pozo et al. 1999); AtIPS3 PHR1, we performed electrophoretic mobility shift as- gene, encoding a protein of unknown function (J.C. del Pozo, J. says (EMSA) with in vitro-translated PHR1 protein and Iglesias, V. Rubio, A. Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.); RBP4 DNA fragments from the 5 region (upstream of the first gene (encoding the ribosome binding protein 4; C. Konnz, un- ATG) of AtIPS1, a gene whose Pi starvation induction is publ.) used as loading control. severely impaired in phr1-1 and phr1-2 (Fig. 2). Five over- lapping fragments encompassing 707 bp upstream of the defined PSR1 gene from the unicellular algae C.rein- first ATG were amplified and radiolabeled by PCR and hardtii (Wykoff et al. 1999). Only a single gene incubated with the in vitro-translated PHR1 protein. A (AT4g28610; protein CAB81449.1) in this region showed slower migrating band was observed when either of two homology to any of these genes (specifically, to the C. overlapping fragments (a and b) were incubated with reinhardtii PSR1 gene). Transformation of the phr1-1 PHR1 (Fig. 5A). To confirm that the shifted band con- mutant with a 5-kb genomic region, spanning the coding tained PHR1 and to examine which part of the PHR1 region plus sequences 2 kb upstream of the translation protein was responsible for the binding activity ob- initiation codon and 1.3-kb sequences downstream of served, several carboxy- or amino-terminally truncated the termination codon, cloned in the binary vector pBIB derivatives were generated and subjected to binding and (Becker 1990), rescued the wild-type phenotype in 12 of EMSA. As a probe, the 45-bp fragment representing the 19 transformants (Fig. 3B). overlap between fragments a and b (extending from −612 To define experimentally the structure of the PHR1 to −568) was used. In all cases in which the retarded band gene, overlapping cDNA fragments were isolated follow- was observed, the mobility shift correlated with the size ing the Marathon RACE protocol (Clontech) by use of of the truncated protein, confirming the presence of oligonucleotides derived from the gene sequence (gene PHR1 in the protein–DNA complex (Fig 5B). At least 207 AT4g28610, EMBL accession no. AL161573; see Materi- amino-terminal amino acids (207Nt) close to the start als and Methods). The cDNA sequence (Fig. 3C) showed of the MYB domain could be deleted without compro- that the predicted intron/exon structure in gene mising DNA binding. In contrast, deletion of 78 amino AT4g28610 is correct except for the sixth exon, which acids in the carboxy-terminal region abolished DNA uses an AG acceptor site 39 nucleotides downstream of binding of the truncated protein. This deletion does not that predicted (position 1195 instead of 1156, in which affect the MYB domain, but the second domain con- the A of the start codon is defined as nucleotide 1). In served between PHR1 and PSR1 from C.reinhardtii,in addition, the first 91 nucleotides of the cDNA sequence agreement with the idea that the coiled–coil domain of shown in Figure 3C correspond to a 5 untranslated exon. these proteins is also necessary for correct DNA binding. Sequencing of the transcribed region of the two alleles To further delimit the PHR1-binding site, DNA-bind- revealed that each contained a point mutation. In the ing assays and EMSAs were performed by use of three case of the phr1-1 allele, the mutation was a C-to-T tran- overlapping deletion derivatives of the 45-bp fragment sition at nucleotide 663 of the genomic sequence (in (spanning positions; −612 to −593, −599 to −575, and which the A of the predicted start codon is defined as −586 to −568), As a result, only one (−599 to −575) was GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2125 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. bound by PHR1 (not shown). Scanning mutagenesis, con- sisting of consecutive 4-bp substitutions throughout this 25-bp fragment, was performed, and the substitution de- rivatives were subjected to binding and EMSA with PHR1 (not shown). As a result, a 10-bp sequence (Fig. 5C) was found to be sufficient for PHR1 binding. This se- quence included an imperfectly palindromic sequence GCATATTC. Analysis of the effect of mutations on the 10-bp sequence further highlighted the relevance of the imperfect-palindromic sequence for binding by PHR1. Mutations in the sequence of the imperfect palindrome did not greatly affect binding by PHR1. The same was true for mutations in positions 2 and 7 (C and T, respec- tively), the positions that do not conform to the rules of a canonical palindromic sequence. Given that mutations at PHR1 affected the activity of all Pi starvation-induced genes tested, we asked whether they contained the PHR1-binding sequence (GNA- TATNC, P1BS) in their promoter region. All Pi starva- tion-induced genes examined contained a P1BS-related sequence (Table 1). The P1BS present in the AtIPS3 gene is bound by PHR1 (Fig. 5D). The imperfect-palindromic nature of the PHR1 bind- ing sequence (P1BS) raised the possibility that PHR1 would bind its target as a dimer. To address this ques- tion, the strategy of Hope and Struhl (1987) was fol- lowed. The full-length and the Nt207 derivative were translated in vitro, alone or in combination, and the re- sulting products were tested in DNA binding and EMSA with P1BS. In addition to the band corresponding to the full-length or the deletion derivative, a band of interme- diate mobility appeared when the cotranslation products Figure 3. Positional cloning and structure of the PHR1 gene. (A) PHR1 was first mapped between CAPS markers RPS2 and phra, and finally narrowed the physical localization between BACs F20O9 and F16A16. Within this region, a homolog to the PSR1 gene from C.reinhardtii (Wykoff et al. 1999) was identified (At4g28610). Sequencing of the region corresponding to the PSR1 homolog in the two alleles, phr1-1 and phr1-2 revealed that each had a mutation in this gene. The mutation in phr1-1 was a C-to-T transition, causing the introduction of a premature stop codon. The mutation in phr1-2 was also a G-to-A substi- tution, which impaired a GT splicing donor site. Nucleotides in the intron are shown in italics. The exon structure derived from comparison of the genomic and cDNA sequences is highlighted with boxes (empty, noncoding exons, or parts; full, coding ex- ons, or parts). (B) Complementation of the phr1-1 mutant with plasmid pBIBPHR1, harboring the PHR1-coding region plus 2 kb upstream and 1.3 kb downstream sequences. T progeny of a transgenic plant harboring a copy of the pBIBPHR1 T-DNA (middle), displays a 3:1 segregation of the colored phenotype when germinated directly in Pi starvation medium. Control progeny from wild-type and phr1-1 homozygous plants are shown at left and right, respectively. Scale bar, 0.5 cm. (C) Nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence from the PHR1 cDNA. The two regions conserved between PHR1 and the C. reinhardtii PSR1 protein, corresponding to the MYB domain and to a predicted coiled–coil domain, are highlighted in reverse contrast and gray, respectively. A putative nuclear localization signal is shown (underlined). 2126 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling Figure 5. Sequence-specific DNA-binding properties of PHR1. (A) EMSA of in vitro translated PHR1 protein binding to over- lapping DNA fragments from the 5 region of AtIPS1. Mock- translated reticulocyte lysate was used in the indicated lanes. The DNA fragments used in the experiment are represented diagrammatically at top, and span 707 bp upstream of the first ATG of AtIPS1 (a, from −726 to −568; b, from −612 to −440; c, from −484 to −343; d, from −384 to −245; e, from −285 to −130; f, from −152 to −19). Arrows show PHR1-bound or free DNA (B or F, respectively). Other bands detected in the autoradiograph are shared for each fragment between the lanes corresponding to the mock-translated and to the in vitro-translated PHR1 pro- Figure 4. Sequence comparison among PHR1 and related pro- tein, and thus represent interactions between the fragment and teins in databanks. (A) Alignment of the MYB (top) and pre- proteins of the reticulocyte lysate. (B) EMSA of amino-terminal dicted coiled–coil (bottom) conserved domains constructed by and carboxy-terminal deletion derivatives binding to the over- use of the CLUSTAL program (Higgins et al. 1996). The protein lapping region between fragments a and b (from −612 to −568). accession number given in the SPTREMBL or EMBL databanks A diagrammatic representation of the PHR1 protein is shown at is preceded by a species identifier as follows: A.thaliana (At), top. The black and gray boxes represent the MYB and the pre- Nicotiana tabacum (Nt), Mesembryanthemum crystallinum dicted coiled–coil domains, respectively. Arrows show the (Mc), and C.reinhardtii (Cr). Arrowhead indicates the position amino terminus and the carboxyl terminus of the amino- and of an insertion of 8 and 16 amino acid residues in the Q9SVP8 carboxy-terminally truncated derivatives, respectively. (C) Scan and Q9LRN5 sequences, respectively. Alignment was colored mutagenesis of the 10 bp sequence containing the PHR1-bind- according to the average BLOSUM62 score (0.5–1.49, light gray; ing site (P1BS). Wild-type P1BS is shown with the imperfect 1.5–2.9, gray; 3.0, black). (B) Phylogram of proteins described palindromic repeats indicated by arrows. Base changes in the in A sharing the MYB and predicted coiled–coil conserved do- mutants tested are indicated in the lines below. Broken lines mains, constructed by use of the CLUSTAL (Higgins et al. 1996) indicate positions with the same base as in the wild-type P1BS. program and the neighbor-joining method (Saitou and Nei (D) EMSA of PHR1 to the P1BS-related sequence present in the 1987). The bootstrap (Felsenstein 1992) value of each node is AtIPS3 promoter (see Table 1). (E) PHR1 homodimerization. EMSA was conducted with the full-size PHR1 protein and with indicated (of 1000 samples). Scale bar, 0.05 substitutions/site. the 207Nt deletion derivative binding to the sequence used in To construct the alignment and the tree, only the two conserved B. Proteins were translated in vitro, alone, or in combination. regions were considered. GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2127 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. were used (Fig. 5E). This intermediate mobility band cor- responds to the mobility expected for a heterodimer, in- dicating that PHR1 recognizes its target as a dimer. PHR1 transcription and nuclear localization ofaGFPPHR1 fusion protein is found independent of Pi status Figure 6. Northern analysis of PHR1 gene expression. A. To evaluate whether control of PHR1 activity occurs thaliana plants were grown in complete medium for 5 d, then pretranslationally, we examined transcript levels in transferred to medium containing Pi (+P) for 7 d or lacking Pi (−P) for 2 or 7 d. Poly A -enriched RNA was isolated from these plants grown under different conditions. As shown in samples and RNA gel blots containing 0.5 µg of these samples Figure 6, PHR1 RNA is detected independently of the Pi were hybridized to the PHR1 probe and subsequently rehybrid- status of the plant, but in contrast to PSR1 in C.rein- ized to a probe corresponding to the RBP4 gene used as loading hardtii counterpart, is only moderately responsive to Pi control. starvation (twofold induction for PHR1 vs. 13-fold in- duction for PSR1; Wykoff et al. 1999). A common mechanism to regulate nutrient starvation Discussion responses is to control the subcellular localization of a transcription factor (O’Neill et al. 1996; Beck and Hall The mechanisms underlying Pi starvation signaling are 1999). To test whether this could be the case for PHR1, well understood in bacteria and yeast (for reviews, see we prepared a 35SGFPPHR1 chimeric gene in which Torriani 1990; Lenburg and O’Shea 1996). However, the 35S promoter drives the expression of the coding little is known about this process in vascular plants. In region of the green fluorescence protein 5 (Siemering et this study, we have isolated and characterized a Pi star- al. 1996) fused to the full-size PHR1 ORF. The vectors vation response mutant and cloned the corresponding containing the 35SGFPPHR1 fusion gene or the gene PHR1, the first gene involved in the control of Pi 35SGFP gene alone were used to transform wild-type responses in vascular plants to be characterized at the and phr1 mutant plants. Analysis of the phr1 plants molecular level. transformed with the fusion protein showed that it could The phr1 mutations isolated in this work affect a phenotypically complement the Pi starvation response broad spectrum of Pi starvation responses, including defect, indicating that the GFPPHR1 fusion protein is some responses shared with other stress responses. For functional (data not shown). Microscopic analysis example, they affect anthocyanin accumulation, which showed that, whereas in the plants harboring the control is also increased in response to nitrogen starvation and to GFP construct, fluorescence was distributed throughout a large number of environmental stresses, including cold the cell, in the plants harboring the GFPPHR1 con- and UV radiation (Dixon and Paiva 1995; Mol et al. struct, fluorescence was found in the nucleus, both in 1996). This defect in anthocyanin accumulation in the the wild-type and in the mutant phr1 grown under any Pi phr1 mutants is specific for phosphate starvation, how- regimen. This is shown in Figure 7 for the case of wild- ever, as no alteration in its accumulation is observed in these mutants in response to nitrogen starvation (Fig. type transformed plants, and indicates that the subcel- lular localization to the nucleus is independent of the Pi 1B,D) or to the stress-related hormones tested, abscisic status. A similar Pi status-independent nuclear localiza- and jasmonic acids (data not shown). These observations tion was found for the C.reinhardtii PSR1 protein indicate that responses common to several different (Wykoff et al. 1999). stresses may be controlled by signaling pathways spe- Table 1. Sequences related to the PHR1-binding site found at the upstream region of phosphate starvation-responsive genes from several plant species Gene Species Sequence Position Reference AtlPS1 Arabidopsis thaliana GCATATTC −598 Martin et al. 2000) AtlPS3 Arabidopsis thaliana GAATATGC −570 (J.C. del Pozo, J. Iglesia, V. Rubio, GAATATGC −745 A. Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.) AtACP5 Arabidopsis thaliana GAATATCC −290 (del Pozo et al. 1999) AtPT1 Arabidopsis thaliana GTATATCC −200 (Muchhal et al. 1996) At4 Arabidopsis thaliana GCATATTC −245 (Burleigh and Harrison 1999) GTATATGC −782 RNS1 Arabidopsis thaliana GTATATAC −188 (Bariola et al. 1994) PAP1 Arabidopsis thaliana GGATATAC −149 (Haran et al. 2000) TPSI1 Lycopersicum esculentum GCATATCC −551 (Liu et al. 1997) Mt4 Medicago truncatula GCATATCC −230 (Burleigh and Harrison 1997) The position is given for the most 5-upstream nucleotide with respect to the first ATG in the transcribed region. 2128 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling coiled–coil domain may be the dimerization domain. In agreement with this interpretation, a deletion derivative of PHR1 lacking part of the coiled–coil domain showed impaired high-affinity sequence-specific DNA binding. The combination of a characteristic MYB and a coiled– coil domain is shared by several other plant proteins (15 in A.thaliana) defining a family that we term the MYB– CC family. Phylogenetic analysis within this family re- veals two subgroups, I and II. PHR1 and PSR1 from C. reinhardtii belong to subgroup I, which contains several other members from A.thaliana more closely related to PHR1 than to PSR1. This raises the possibility of func- tional heterodimeric interactions between MYB–CC pro- teins through their coiled–coil domains, as well as the possibility of partial redundancy between members of this family. In line with this hypothesis, the two phr1 mutants studied, which probably carry loss-of-function mutations, only showed partial impairment of most of the molecular/physiological responses studied, in con- trast to the case of the psr1 mutations in C.reinhardtii. Scanning mutagenesis of the DNA target site for PHR1 allowed us to determine the sequence requirements for interaction. PHR1 binds to an imperfect palindrome of 8 bp. Interestingly, this sequence is present in all Pi star- vation-induced genes examined except PHR1 itself, in- cluding those acting in the scavenging, mobilization, and uptake of Pi. We conclude that PHR1 (or its highly re- Figure 7. Subcellular localization of a GFPPHR1 fusion pro- tein in wild-type plants grown under Pi sufficient and Pi star- lated counterparts) acts downstream in the Pi starvation vation conditions. Microscopic images of root cells from trans- signal-transduction pathway, and does not appear to be genic A.thaliana Col-0 plants harboring a control gene self regulated transcriptionally. 35SGFP (top)ora 35SGFPPHR1 fusion gene (bottom). It remains to be shown whether other members of the Plants were grown in complete medium for 5 d, then transferred MYB–CC family control other aspects of the Pi starva- to medium containing Pi (+P, left) or lacking Pi (−P, right )for7 tion response. It is well known that there are two types d before analysis. Scale bar, 20 µm. of response to Pi deprivation in plants, one which is sys- temically controlled by whole-plant Pi status and the cific to each stress type. In addition, they suggest that other governed by local Pi status (Drew 1975; Drew and anthocyanin accumulation is a primary response to Pi Saker 1984; Burleigh and Harrison 1999). Notably, of the starvation, rather than a secondary nonspecific side ef- various responses studied, the only ones that were unaf- fect controlled by a common mechanism as suspected fected in the phr1 alleles were root hair length and num- previously (Trull et al. 1997), as the phr1 mutant is ber, which are the only ones known to be controlled by stressed with respect to Pi when grown under Pi starva- local Pi status (Bates and Lynch 1996). tion conditions (Fig. 1B). Expression of PHR1, like that of PSR1, is detected in- PHR1 was cloned by chromosome walking assisted by dependent of the Pi status. In both cases, there is in- the choice of gene candidates and was shown to be re- creased RNA accumulation in response to Pi starvation, lated to the PSR1 gene from C.reinhardtii. This finding although to a lesser extent in the case of PHR1. Simi- further underlines the importance of C.reinhardtii as a larly, both PHR1 and PSR1 proteins are localized in the model system for photosynthetic eukaryotes. In addi- nucleus under any Pi regime. The presumed presence of tion, it shows that evolution of the Pi starvation rescue PHR1 in the nucleus of plants grown in Pi sufficient conditions raises the questions as to its role under these system in vascular plants involved the recruitment of conditions and to its regulation. In this regard, it is no- new responses, such as anthocyanin accumulation, to a ticeable that the Pi content of the mutant is lower than conserved regulatory system preexisting in the unicellu- that of the wild type when grown under a Pi sufficient lar ancestors. The PHR1 protein is 409 amino acids in regime, suggesting that PHR1 participates in the control size and contains two domains shared with PSR1, a of the plant Pi status under any Pi regime. On the other MYB-related domain, characteristic of DNA-binding hand, PHR1 is either post-translationally modified or the proteins, and a predicted coiled–coil domain, potentially protein is a constitutively active, specific component of involved in protein–protein interactions. In line with the Pi starvation signaling and a second component of the presence of these two domains, DNA-binding assays showed that PHR1 binds to DNA as a dimer in a se- signaling cascade responds to the signal. quence-specific manner. Thus, the MYB domain is likely The relevance of the Pi starvation rescue system in the to be involved in sequence-specific recognition, and the context of phosphorus nutrition efficiency is indicated GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2129 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. AP1 primer (from the Marathon RACE Kit) and the PHR1 prim- by the fact that the phr1 mutants display reduced growth ers 5-GATTCGTCTTCCTTGGTACCGGATTGCTTC-3 and under Pi starvation conditions (Fig. 1B). The identifica- 5-GGGATTGAAGAAGTGCGTGTGAGG-3. These PCR tion and cloning of PHR1 provides a potentially useful fragments were cloned into SmaI-digested pBluescript SK plas- tool toward engineering plants that require less phos- mids (Stratagene) and sequenced. phate fertilizer. Genetic analysis and positional cloning of PHR1 Materials and methods phr1-1 mutant plants were backcrossed four times to wild-type plants (Col-0 ecotype) to test the linkage of the different phe- notypes observed to a single recessive mutation. For mapping Strains and growth conditions purposes, phr1-1 plants (Col-0 ecotype) were crossed to wild- type plants of the Landsberg erecta ecotype (Ler). Twelve-day- All A.thaliana plants used in this study, including mutants and old F seedlings that displayed the anthocyaninless phenotype transgenic plants, were on the Columbia (Col-0) or the Lands- 2 under phosphorus starvation were isolated. DNA from these berg erecta background. Plants were grown in complete me- plants was prepared and used to analyze linkage of the phr1-1 dium (+P) as described by Bates and Lynch (1996), using one- mutation to previously described SSLP (Bell and Ecker 1994) and strength nutrient salts (Johnson et al. 1957). In the Pi deficient CAPS (Konieczny and Ausubel 1993). PHR1 was mapped to medium (−P), KH PO was replaced by equimolar amounts of 2 4 chromosome 4 between RPS2 and prha CAPS markers. To iden- KCl . In nitrogen deficient medium (−N), Ca(NO ) and KNO 2 3 2 3 tify the mutant gene, we generated molecular markers (Table 2). were replaced by equimolar amounts of CaCl and K SO ,re- 2 2 4 spectively. Growth chamber conditions were 22°C, 60% hu- Plant transformation midity, and a 16-h light/8-h dark photoperiod with 100 µE/m per sec of white light. Two types of constructs were used to transform A.thaliana plants by use of the vacuum infiltration method (Bechtold et al. 1993). One corresponded to the genomic DNA containing the Isolation of mutants PHR1 gene, which was used to complement the mutant phr1-1. A.thaliana seeds (50,000) of a homozygous line harboring the The genomic fragment was obtained by PCR amplification from phosphate starvation responsive AtIPS1GUS reporter gene wild-type plants using as primers: 5-CAACGAAGATTAC (Martín et al. 2000) were mutagenized with ethyl EMS by treat- GAAGCTCGAAAGTACG-3 (positions −2063 to −2035 rela- ing hydrated seeds (soaked overnight in distilled water) with tive to the start of translation) and 5-CATCGAAGGCT 0.3% EMS for 13 h, then sowed directly onto soil in 56 pots. GAGATACTGCTGGAGGTCGG-3 (positions 2580 to 2550). Seeds were harvested separately as M families. M seeds (450) 1 2 The PCR fragment was digested with HindIII and cloned in the from each M family were plated directly on low-phosphorus binary vector pBIB plasmid (Becker 1990), which confers hygro- medium and, after 9 d, screened for GUS expression using a mycin resistance in planta. nondestructive assay (Martin et al. 1997). Putative mutants The second construct corresponded to a GFPPHR1 transla- showing impaired phosphate starvation response were recov- tional fusion used to examine the subcellular localization of ered on fresh complete medium and transferred to soil. M seeds PHR1. To do this, a PHR1 fragment of 1327 bp was amplified by were retested for inheritance of the observed phenotype. PCR using the PHR1 primers 5-AAAAAAAGATCTATTC A search for phr1-1 alleles was performed by taking advantage GTCTTCCTTGGTCCTGGATTGC-3 and 5- GAAGAACCT of the colorless phenotype of phr1 plants grown under Pi star- CAAGATAAGAGCTCG-3. This fragment was digested with vation conditions. M seedlings (100,000) were grown under Pi BglII and fused translationally to the 3 end of the GFP ORF starvation conditions for 12 d, and plants showing colorless contained in the pAVA393 plasmid, which encodes GFP version cotyledons were subsequently subjected to analysis of GUS ac- 5 (Siemering et al. 1996). This construct and the pAVA393 (as a tivity, and the one showing reduced GUS activity was selected. positive control) were used to transform both the wild type and Prior to the phenotypic analysis, the phr1-1 allele was back- the phr1 mutant. crossed four times with the wild-type transgenic reporter line. Visualization of GFP and derivatives Physiological measurements GFP fluorescence was visualized by use of a Leica DM-R mi- croscope (Leica Microsystem, Wetzlar GmBH, Germany). GFP Anthocyanin was extracted from rosettes of plants grown on complete medium (+P) for 5 d, then transferred to +P, −P, or −N medium for 7 d. Anthocyanin content was measured as de- Table 2. New markers generated for positional cloning scribed previously (Swain and Hillis 1959). The method of Ames of PHR1 (1966) was used to determine the cellular phosphorus content of Marker Size Col (bp)/Ler Primers seedlings grown on complete medium (+P) for 5 d, and then transferred to +P or −P medium for 7 d. Mean values were com- T15N24 Col (177) > Ler 5-GAAGTTTCCACAGACGAGG-3 pared by use of a Student’s t test. 5-CAGCTAAGGGTTCTGCATCC-3 F27G19 Col (179) > Ler 5-CCCACTTCAACACAATTCTTCC-3 5-CAATTGCAGCTACAGATCGC-3 Molecular procedures F20O9 Col (135) < Ler 5-CTCATAATGCATTGAACCC-3 5-GTTACAATACCATGCACG-3 Routine molecular work was performed as described previously, F16A16 Col (167) > Ler 5-GCATATCAAACTCAGAGG-3 except where indicated (Sambrook et al. 1989; del Pozo et al. 5-CACATATCTAAATACAGACC-3 1999). Genomic DNA was isolated as described by Doyle and F19B15 Col (181) > Ler 5-GTATGTTTTTCAATGTATTTGG-3 Doyle (1990). A full-length cDNA of PHR1 was isolated by use 5-GACAACTACTTTTGTGGATG-3 of the Marathon RACE Kit as described by the manufacturer (Clontech), Expand High Fidelity polymerase (Boehringer), the All were named for the BAC from which they are derived. 2130 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling excitation was performed with standard FITC filters. Images of payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby roots were taken through FITC filters with an Apogee KX85 marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section CCD camera (Apogee Instruments), splitting the emission sig- 1734 solely to indicate this fact. nal into two channels, one for GFP emission (green channel) and one for autofluorescence (red channel, not shown). 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GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2133 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae Vicente Rubio, Francisco Linhares, Roberto Solano, et al. Genes Dev. 2001, 15: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.204401 This article cites 59 articles, 17 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/15/16/2122.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top Email Alerting right corner of the article or click here. Service Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Genes & Development Unpaywall

A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae

Genes & DevelopmentAug 15, 2001

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Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae Vicente Rubio, Francisco Linhares, Roberto Solano, Ana C. Martín, Joaquín Iglesias, Antonio Leyva, and Javier Paz-Ares Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain Plants have evolved a number of adaptive responses to cope with growth in conditions of limited phosphate (Pi) supply involving biochemical, metabolic, and developmental changes. We prepared an EMS-mutagenized M population of an Arabidopsis thaliana transgenic line harboring a reporter gene specifically responsive to Pi starvation (AtIPS1GUS), and screened for mutants altered in Pi starvation regulation. One of the mutants, phr1 (phosphate starvation response 1), displayed reduced response of AtIPS1GUS to Pi starvation, and also had a broad range of Pi starvation responses impaired, including the responsiveness of various other Pi starvation-induced genes and metabolic responses, such as the increase in anthocyanin accumulation. PHR1 was positionally cloned and shown be related to the PHOSPHORUS STARVATION RESPONSE 1 (PSR1) gene from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.AGFPPHR1protein fusion was localized in the nucleus independently of Pi status, as is the case for PSR1. PHR1 is expressed in Pi sufficient conditions and, in contrast to PSR1,is only weakly responsive to Pi starvation. PHR1, PSR1, and other members of the protein family share a MYB domain and a predicted coiled–coil (CC) domain, defining a subtype within the MYB superfamily, the MYB–CC family. Therefore, PHR1was found to bind as a dimer to an imperfect palindromic sequence. PHR1-binding sequences are present in the promoter of Pi starvation-responsive structural genes, indicating that this protein acts downstream in the Pi starvation signaling pathway. [Key Words: Arabidopsis thaliana; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; coiled–coil domain; MYB domain; Pi starvation; transcription factor] Received April 5, 2001; revised version accepted June 13, 2001. Phosphorus is an essential macronutrient for growth and availability of endogenous and exogenous inorganic development of living organisms. It is a constituent of phosphate (Pi), including increased secretion of organic key molecules such as ATP, nucleic acids, or phospho- acids from roots, the induction of high affinity phosphate lipids, and as phosphate, pyrophosphate, ATP, ADP, or transporters, RNases, and phosphatases (Clarkson 1985; AMP, plays a crucial role in energy transfer, metabolic Lipton et al. 1987; Goldstein et al. 1988; Krannitz et al. regulation, and protein activation (Marschner 1995). 1991; Theodorou and Plaxton 1993; Bariola et al. 1994; Phosphorus is one of the most limiting nutrients for Duff et al. 1994; Green 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; Smith plants because the form that is preferentially assimi- et al. 1997; C.M. Liu et al. 1998; H. Liu et al. 1998) and lable, phosphate (Pi), is unevenly distributed in soils and changes in thylakoid lipid composition, whereby a de- >80% is immobile and not readily available to roots crease in phosphatidylglycerol is accompanied by an in- (Holford 1997). crease in sulpholipids (Essigmann et al. 1998). Additional Plants have evolved adaptive responses to cope with adaptations involve alterations in the rate of photosyn- growth under conditions of limited phosphate availabil- thesis and photosynthate partitioning, the accumulation ity (for review, see Raghothama 1999). Biochemical and of the light protecting, anthocyanin pigments, and the metabolic adaptations involve changes that increase the utilization of alternative glycolytic or respiration path- ways (Duff et al. 1989). These alternative glycolytic and respiratory pathways circumvent steps requiring phos- phate or adenylate, contributing to the plant survival Present address: BIONOSTRA S.L., Ronda de Poniente 6, 2°-C, Tres during prolonged periods of phosphate deprivation (Duff Cantos, 28760 Madrid, Spain. Corresponding author. et al. 1989). E-MAIL jpazares@cnb.uam.es; FAX 34-91-585-4506. Developmental responses involve changes in root Article and publication are at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/ gad.204401. growth and architecture that enhance the exploitation of 2122 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 15:2122–2133 © 2001 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/01 $5.00; www.genesdev.org Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling soil phosphate resources and include increases in root/ Results shoot ratio, root hair proliferation and length, and lateral Isolation of the phosphate starvation response root number (Bates and Lynch 1996). Some plants further mutant phr1 modify the soil scavenging potential of their roots by forming lateral proliferations (proteoids) or establishing The AtIPS1 gene, like other members of the Mt4/TPSI1 symbiotic associations with mycorrhizal fungi (for re- family, is specifically responsive to Pi starvation. A view, see Harrison 1999; Watt and Evans 1999). translational fusion between AtIPS1 and the coding re- Several genes responsive to Pi starvation have been gion of the GUS gene also displays a specific response to isolated recently from vascular plants (for review, see Pi starvation in transgenic A.thaliana plants (Martín et Raghothama 1999), and encode high-affinity Pi trans- al. 2000); transgenic plants harboring this reporter gene porters, acid phosphatases, and RNases, among other are therefore suitable for identifying mutants with al- proteins (Bariola et al. 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; C.M. tered Pi starvation responses. M seedlings of an EMS- Liu et al. 1998; H. Liu et al. 1998; del Pozo et al. 1999; mutagenized population were screened by use of a non- Haran et al. 2000). Members of the Mt4/TPSI1 gene fam- destructive GUS staining assay (Martin et al. 1997). Pu- ily are also characterized by their highly specific respon- tative mutants were identified as follows: nine-day-old siveness to Pi starvation. These genes encode RNAs with seedlings (∼25,000) grown in medium lacking Pi were short nonconserved reading frames (Burleigh and Harri- stained with GUS for 6 h, during which time plates were son 1997, 1999; Liu et al. 1997; Martín et al. 2000). The examined every hour. Seedlings showing reduced GUS existence of various genes responding to Pi starvation staining were selected as candidates for further analysis; suggests that plants are also endowed with a phosphate 17 mutant candidates were selected, and M progeny was starvation regulon, as is the case for yeast and Escherich- obtained from 15 of them. After preliminary phenotypic ia coli (for reviews, see Torriani 1990; Lenburg and analysis (not shown), phr1-1, which was affected in the O’Shea 1996). In contrast to the situation with these mi- expression of several Pi starvation-inducible genes, and croorganisms, very little is known about the mecha- which did not accumulate anthocyanin during Pi starva- nisms governing responses to phosphate starvation in tion stress (see following section and Figs. 1 and 2, be- vascular plants. Mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana have low), was selected for further analysis. been isolated that are affected in phosphate accumula- The fact that phr1-1 did not accumulate anthocyanin tion, such as pho1 or pho2, or an acid phosphatase activ- in response to Pi starvation suggested a simple screen for ity (Poirier et al. 1991; Delhaize and Randall 1995; Trull phr1 alleles. After pre-screening 100,000 seedlings grown and Deikman 1998), but the structural or regulatory under Pi starvation conditions for colorless cotyledons, roles of the genes are not known. In addition, several Pi followed by the analysis of GUS activity, we identified a starvation response mutants have been identified re- single additional mutant, phr1-2, with reduced GUS cently by use of an elegant conditional genetic screen staining. Results of crossing experiments (not shown) in- (Chen et al. 2000), but the corresponding genes have not dicated that both mutants were recessive and allelic. yet been identified. One regulatory gene of the Pi star- Prior to the phenotypic analysis (detailed in the next vation response has been identified and cloned from the section), the phr1-1 allele was backcrossed four times unicellular algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and with the wild-type transgenic reporter line. shown to encode a member of the MYB transcription factor superfamily (Wykoff et al. 1999). phr1 mutant alleles are impaired in different Pi We have taken advantage of the availability of trans- starvation responses genic A.thaliana plants harboring a reporter gene spe- cifically induced by Pi starvation (AtIPS1GUS; Martín In addition to the study of the expression of the et al. 2000) to initiate the molecular genetic dissection of AtIPS1GUS reporter gene, several metabolic and de- Pi starvation signaling. We report on the identification velopmental traits influenced by Pi starvation, as well as and characterization of a phosphate starvation response the expression of six Pi starvation-responsive genes, mutant, phr1, which is impaired in various aspects of the were examined in the phr1-1 and phr1-2 mutant alleles response, such as the induction of Pi starvation-respon- (Figs. 1 and 2, below). The phr1 mutations resulted in sive genes and anthocyanin synthesis. We show that reduced GUS activity driven by AtIPS1GUS in all parts PHR1 encodes a transcription factor related to the of Pi starved plants (Fig. 1A). In addition, Pi starvation- PHOSPHORUS STARVATION RESPONSE 1 (PSR1) induced increases in anthocyanin accumulation and, to a protein from C.reinhardtii, suggesting that the increase lesser, although in a statistically significant extent in complexity of the Pi starvation response during the (P < 0.02), in the root-to-shoot growth ratio, were im- evolution of multicellular vascular plants was achieved, paired in the plants homozygous for either of the phr1 at least in part, via recruitment of new functions under alleles (Fig. 1B,C). The effect of phr1 mutations on these the control of a MYB-based regulatory system pre-exist- two traits was specific for Pi starvation stress, as no sig- ing in unicellular photosynthetic ancestors. We also nificant difference was observed between mutant alleles show that PHR1 binds as a dimer to sequences present in and wild type in anthocyanin accumulation or on the the promoter of Pi starvation-responsive genes, in line with root/shoot growth ratio under nitrogen starvation condi- the presence in this protein of a coiled–coil domain shared tions (Fig. 1B,C). Moreover, the mutants showed in- with PSR1 and other members of the MYB–CC family. creased anthocyanin synthesis in response to the stress- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2123 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. Figure 1. Characterization of the phr1 mutant alleles. (A) Histochemical analysis of GUS activity driven by the AtIPS1GUS reporter gene in response to phosphate starvation in wild type (wt; left) and in the phr1-1 mutant (right). Scale bar, 1 cm. (B) Histograms of metabolic (anthocyanin and Pi content) and developmental (root/shoot growth ratio and total weight) parameters of the wild-type (wt) and phr1-1 (1-1) and phr1-2 (1-2) mutant alleles, grown under different nutrient regimes; complete medium (+P), Pi starvation (−P), or nitrogen starvation (−N) regimes. (C) Plates containing the wild-type (bottom) and the phr1-1 (left) and phr1-2 (right) mutant alleles grown on different nutrient regimes. Scale bars, 1 cm. (D) Detail showing root hairs of wild type and phr1-1 grown under Pi starvation conditions. Scale bar, 0.5 mm. The analyses were conducted on plants grown in complete medium for 5 d, then transferred to complete medium or to medium lacking Pi or N for 7 d, except in the cases of the Pi and N starvation shown in C, in which the starvation lasted for 12 d. Data represent means of at least six independent measurements. Standard deviations are indicated by bars. Statistically significant differences using the Student’s t test between wild-type and phr1 alleles were observed for anthocyanin accumulation, root-to-shoot growth ratio, and total weight for plants grown under Pi starvation conditions (P < 0.01), as well as for total Pi content for plants grown under Pi sufficient conditions (P < 0.02). related hormones abscisic acid and jasmonic acid similar PHR1 encodes a member of the MYB superfamily to wild-type plants (not shown). Both mutations resulted conserved between A. thaliana and C. reinhardtii in a statistically significant decrease in the Pi content of The PHR1 gene was cloned by a map-based chromosome the plant (P < 0.01) when plants were grown under Pi walking procedure on the basis of a cross between the sufficient conditions, and in a decrease in plant growth phr1-1 mutant (Columbia ecotype) and the Landsberg under Pi starvation conditions (P < 0.01; Fig. 1B). In con- wild-type ecotype. By use of 2100 F seedlings showing trast, no effect of the mutations of PHR1 was observed the phr1 phenotype, the PHR1 gene was mapped to chro- for the Pi starvation-induced increases in root hair length mosome 4 (between markers RPS2 and prha) by a series and number (Fig. 1D). of simple sequence length polymorphism markers (SSLP; The effect of the phr1 mutations on the expression of Bell and Ecker 1994) and cleaved, amplified, polymor- Pi starvation-induced genes was examined by use of phic sequences (CAPS; Konieczny and Ausubel 1993) Northern analysis. Six Pi starvation-induced genes were available in databases. The mapping was further refined analyzed, including AtIPS1 and At4, members of the by use of new SSLP markers generated from sequence Mt4/TPSI1 family (Burleigh and Harrison 1997; Martín information from the A.thaliana genome sequencing et al. 2000); AtPT1, AtACP5, and RNS1, encoding a high- project (see Materials and Methods). As a result, the affinity Pi transporter, an acid phosphatase, and a RNase, PHR1 locus was defined to a region of ∼120 kb between respectively (Bariola et al. 1994; Muchhal et al. 1996; del BACs F20O9 and F16A16 (Fig. 3A). Within this region, Pozo et al. 1999); and AtIPS3, encoding a protein of un- known function (J.C. del Pozo, J. Iglesias, V. Rubio, A. candidate genes were considered that showed homology Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.). The Pi starvation induc- to yeast Pi starvation signaling genes (PHO80, PHO81, ibility of all six genes examined was reduced in the PHO85, PHO2, and PHO4) (Bajwa et al. 1984; Legrain et plants homozygous for either phr1 allele, the effect being al. 1986; Sengstag and Hinnen 1987; Madden et al. 1988; most pronounced on AtIPS1, At4, and RNS1 (Fig. 2). Gilliquet et al. 1990; Creasy et al. 1993) or to the recently 2124 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling nucleotide 1), which results in the replacement of Gln 192 with an ochre stop codon. The phr1-2 mutation is a G-to-A transition at nucleotide 838, which results in the loss of a splice donor site in the third intron, and prob- ably generates a truncated protein. The presence of a single repeat MYB domain classifies PHR1, as well as PSR1, as members of the MYB super- family of DNA-binding proteins. A singular characteris- tic of the PHR1 and PSR1 proteins is that they share a second motif predicted to adopt a coiled–coil conforma- tion (using COILS at www.ch.embnet.org/software/ COILS form.html), which is a potential dimerization motif. Searches in the SPTREMBL or EMBL databanks allowed us to identify 18 proteins (15 in A.thaliana) containing both domains (Fig. 4A). A phylogram of all of these proteins was constructed using the neighbor-join- ing method (Saitou and Nei 1987) of the CLUSTAL pro- Figure 2. Northern analysis of the effect of phr1 mutations on gram (Higgins et al. 1996). Two subgroups can be distin- the expression of Pi starvation-responsive genes. Wild-type and guished, with PHR1 and the C.reinhardtii PSR1 protein mutant phr1-1 and phr1-2 alleles were grown for5din complete belonging to the same subgroup (I) (Fig. 4B). medium, transferred to medium lacking Pi, and collected at 7 d. Total RNA was isolated and RNA gel blots containing 10 µg of these samples were hybridized to the AtIPS1 probe and subse- Sequence-specific binding of PHR1 in the promoter quently rehybridized to probes corresponding to the related of phosphate starvation-responsive genes gene as follows: At4 (Burleigh and Harrison 1999); Pi transporter AtPT1 (Muchhal et al. 1996); RNS1 gene (Bariola et al. 1994); To test the sequence-specific DNA-binding properties of type 5 acid phosphatase AtACP5 (del Pozo et al. 1999); AtIPS3 PHR1, we performed electrophoretic mobility shift as- gene, encoding a protein of unknown function (J.C. del Pozo, J. says (EMSA) with in vitro-translated PHR1 protein and Iglesias, V. Rubio, A. Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.); RBP4 DNA fragments from the 5 region (upstream of the first gene (encoding the ribosome binding protein 4; C. Konnz, un- ATG) of AtIPS1, a gene whose Pi starvation induction is publ.) used as loading control. severely impaired in phr1-1 and phr1-2 (Fig. 2). Five over- lapping fragments encompassing 707 bp upstream of the defined PSR1 gene from the unicellular algae C.rein- first ATG were amplified and radiolabeled by PCR and hardtii (Wykoff et al. 1999). Only a single gene incubated with the in vitro-translated PHR1 protein. A (AT4g28610; protein CAB81449.1) in this region showed slower migrating band was observed when either of two homology to any of these genes (specifically, to the C. overlapping fragments (a and b) were incubated with reinhardtii PSR1 gene). Transformation of the phr1-1 PHR1 (Fig. 5A). To confirm that the shifted band con- mutant with a 5-kb genomic region, spanning the coding tained PHR1 and to examine which part of the PHR1 region plus sequences 2 kb upstream of the translation protein was responsible for the binding activity ob- initiation codon and 1.3-kb sequences downstream of served, several carboxy- or amino-terminally truncated the termination codon, cloned in the binary vector pBIB derivatives were generated and subjected to binding and (Becker 1990), rescued the wild-type phenotype in 12 of EMSA. As a probe, the 45-bp fragment representing the 19 transformants (Fig. 3B). overlap between fragments a and b (extending from −612 To define experimentally the structure of the PHR1 to −568) was used. In all cases in which the retarded band gene, overlapping cDNA fragments were isolated follow- was observed, the mobility shift correlated with the size ing the Marathon RACE protocol (Clontech) by use of of the truncated protein, confirming the presence of oligonucleotides derived from the gene sequence (gene PHR1 in the protein–DNA complex (Fig 5B). At least 207 AT4g28610, EMBL accession no. AL161573; see Materi- amino-terminal amino acids (207Nt) close to the start als and Methods). The cDNA sequence (Fig. 3C) showed of the MYB domain could be deleted without compro- that the predicted intron/exon structure in gene mising DNA binding. In contrast, deletion of 78 amino AT4g28610 is correct except for the sixth exon, which acids in the carboxy-terminal region abolished DNA uses an AG acceptor site 39 nucleotides downstream of binding of the truncated protein. This deletion does not that predicted (position 1195 instead of 1156, in which affect the MYB domain, but the second domain con- the A of the start codon is defined as nucleotide 1). In served between PHR1 and PSR1 from C.reinhardtii,in addition, the first 91 nucleotides of the cDNA sequence agreement with the idea that the coiled–coil domain of shown in Figure 3C correspond to a 5 untranslated exon. these proteins is also necessary for correct DNA binding. Sequencing of the transcribed region of the two alleles To further delimit the PHR1-binding site, DNA-bind- revealed that each contained a point mutation. In the ing assays and EMSAs were performed by use of three case of the phr1-1 allele, the mutation was a C-to-T tran- overlapping deletion derivatives of the 45-bp fragment sition at nucleotide 663 of the genomic sequence (in (spanning positions; −612 to −593, −599 to −575, and which the A of the predicted start codon is defined as −586 to −568), As a result, only one (−599 to −575) was GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2125 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. bound by PHR1 (not shown). Scanning mutagenesis, con- sisting of consecutive 4-bp substitutions throughout this 25-bp fragment, was performed, and the substitution de- rivatives were subjected to binding and EMSA with PHR1 (not shown). As a result, a 10-bp sequence (Fig. 5C) was found to be sufficient for PHR1 binding. This se- quence included an imperfectly palindromic sequence GCATATTC. Analysis of the effect of mutations on the 10-bp sequence further highlighted the relevance of the imperfect-palindromic sequence for binding by PHR1. Mutations in the sequence of the imperfect palindrome did not greatly affect binding by PHR1. The same was true for mutations in positions 2 and 7 (C and T, respec- tively), the positions that do not conform to the rules of a canonical palindromic sequence. Given that mutations at PHR1 affected the activity of all Pi starvation-induced genes tested, we asked whether they contained the PHR1-binding sequence (GNA- TATNC, P1BS) in their promoter region. All Pi starva- tion-induced genes examined contained a P1BS-related sequence (Table 1). The P1BS present in the AtIPS3 gene is bound by PHR1 (Fig. 5D). The imperfect-palindromic nature of the PHR1 bind- ing sequence (P1BS) raised the possibility that PHR1 would bind its target as a dimer. To address this ques- tion, the strategy of Hope and Struhl (1987) was fol- lowed. The full-length and the Nt207 derivative were translated in vitro, alone or in combination, and the re- sulting products were tested in DNA binding and EMSA with P1BS. In addition to the band corresponding to the full-length or the deletion derivative, a band of interme- diate mobility appeared when the cotranslation products Figure 3. Positional cloning and structure of the PHR1 gene. (A) PHR1 was first mapped between CAPS markers RPS2 and phra, and finally narrowed the physical localization between BACs F20O9 and F16A16. Within this region, a homolog to the PSR1 gene from C.reinhardtii (Wykoff et al. 1999) was identified (At4g28610). Sequencing of the region corresponding to the PSR1 homolog in the two alleles, phr1-1 and phr1-2 revealed that each had a mutation in this gene. The mutation in phr1-1 was a C-to-T transition, causing the introduction of a premature stop codon. The mutation in phr1-2 was also a G-to-A substi- tution, which impaired a GT splicing donor site. Nucleotides in the intron are shown in italics. The exon structure derived from comparison of the genomic and cDNA sequences is highlighted with boxes (empty, noncoding exons, or parts; full, coding ex- ons, or parts). (B) Complementation of the phr1-1 mutant with plasmid pBIBPHR1, harboring the PHR1-coding region plus 2 kb upstream and 1.3 kb downstream sequences. T progeny of a transgenic plant harboring a copy of the pBIBPHR1 T-DNA (middle), displays a 3:1 segregation of the colored phenotype when germinated directly in Pi starvation medium. Control progeny from wild-type and phr1-1 homozygous plants are shown at left and right, respectively. Scale bar, 0.5 cm. (C) Nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence from the PHR1 cDNA. The two regions conserved between PHR1 and the C. reinhardtii PSR1 protein, corresponding to the MYB domain and to a predicted coiled–coil domain, are highlighted in reverse contrast and gray, respectively. A putative nuclear localization signal is shown (underlined). 2126 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling Figure 5. Sequence-specific DNA-binding properties of PHR1. (A) EMSA of in vitro translated PHR1 protein binding to over- lapping DNA fragments from the 5 region of AtIPS1. Mock- translated reticulocyte lysate was used in the indicated lanes. The DNA fragments used in the experiment are represented diagrammatically at top, and span 707 bp upstream of the first ATG of AtIPS1 (a, from −726 to −568; b, from −612 to −440; c, from −484 to −343; d, from −384 to −245; e, from −285 to −130; f, from −152 to −19). Arrows show PHR1-bound or free DNA (B or F, respectively). Other bands detected in the autoradiograph are shared for each fragment between the lanes corresponding to the mock-translated and to the in vitro-translated PHR1 pro- Figure 4. Sequence comparison among PHR1 and related pro- tein, and thus represent interactions between the fragment and teins in databanks. (A) Alignment of the MYB (top) and pre- proteins of the reticulocyte lysate. (B) EMSA of amino-terminal dicted coiled–coil (bottom) conserved domains constructed by and carboxy-terminal deletion derivatives binding to the over- use of the CLUSTAL program (Higgins et al. 1996). The protein lapping region between fragments a and b (from −612 to −568). accession number given in the SPTREMBL or EMBL databanks A diagrammatic representation of the PHR1 protein is shown at is preceded by a species identifier as follows: A.thaliana (At), top. The black and gray boxes represent the MYB and the pre- Nicotiana tabacum (Nt), Mesembryanthemum crystallinum dicted coiled–coil domains, respectively. Arrows show the (Mc), and C.reinhardtii (Cr). Arrowhead indicates the position amino terminus and the carboxyl terminus of the amino- and of an insertion of 8 and 16 amino acid residues in the Q9SVP8 carboxy-terminally truncated derivatives, respectively. (C) Scan and Q9LRN5 sequences, respectively. Alignment was colored mutagenesis of the 10 bp sequence containing the PHR1-bind- according to the average BLOSUM62 score (0.5–1.49, light gray; ing site (P1BS). Wild-type P1BS is shown with the imperfect 1.5–2.9, gray; 3.0, black). (B) Phylogram of proteins described palindromic repeats indicated by arrows. Base changes in the in A sharing the MYB and predicted coiled–coil conserved do- mutants tested are indicated in the lines below. Broken lines mains, constructed by use of the CLUSTAL (Higgins et al. 1996) indicate positions with the same base as in the wild-type P1BS. program and the neighbor-joining method (Saitou and Nei (D) EMSA of PHR1 to the P1BS-related sequence present in the 1987). The bootstrap (Felsenstein 1992) value of each node is AtIPS3 promoter (see Table 1). (E) PHR1 homodimerization. EMSA was conducted with the full-size PHR1 protein and with indicated (of 1000 samples). Scale bar, 0.05 substitutions/site. the 207Nt deletion derivative binding to the sequence used in To construct the alignment and the tree, only the two conserved B. Proteins were translated in vitro, alone, or in combination. regions were considered. GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2127 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. were used (Fig. 5E). This intermediate mobility band cor- responds to the mobility expected for a heterodimer, in- dicating that PHR1 recognizes its target as a dimer. PHR1 transcription and nuclear localization ofaGFPPHR1 fusion protein is found independent of Pi status Figure 6. Northern analysis of PHR1 gene expression. A. To evaluate whether control of PHR1 activity occurs thaliana plants were grown in complete medium for 5 d, then pretranslationally, we examined transcript levels in transferred to medium containing Pi (+P) for 7 d or lacking Pi (−P) for 2 or 7 d. Poly A -enriched RNA was isolated from these plants grown under different conditions. As shown in samples and RNA gel blots containing 0.5 µg of these samples Figure 6, PHR1 RNA is detected independently of the Pi were hybridized to the PHR1 probe and subsequently rehybrid- status of the plant, but in contrast to PSR1 in C.rein- ized to a probe corresponding to the RBP4 gene used as loading hardtii counterpart, is only moderately responsive to Pi control. starvation (twofold induction for PHR1 vs. 13-fold in- duction for PSR1; Wykoff et al. 1999). A common mechanism to regulate nutrient starvation Discussion responses is to control the subcellular localization of a transcription factor (O’Neill et al. 1996; Beck and Hall The mechanisms underlying Pi starvation signaling are 1999). To test whether this could be the case for PHR1, well understood in bacteria and yeast (for reviews, see we prepared a 35SGFPPHR1 chimeric gene in which Torriani 1990; Lenburg and O’Shea 1996). However, the 35S promoter drives the expression of the coding little is known about this process in vascular plants. In region of the green fluorescence protein 5 (Siemering et this study, we have isolated and characterized a Pi star- al. 1996) fused to the full-size PHR1 ORF. The vectors vation response mutant and cloned the corresponding containing the 35SGFPPHR1 fusion gene or the gene PHR1, the first gene involved in the control of Pi 35SGFP gene alone were used to transform wild-type responses in vascular plants to be characterized at the and phr1 mutant plants. Analysis of the phr1 plants molecular level. transformed with the fusion protein showed that it could The phr1 mutations isolated in this work affect a phenotypically complement the Pi starvation response broad spectrum of Pi starvation responses, including defect, indicating that the GFPPHR1 fusion protein is some responses shared with other stress responses. For functional (data not shown). Microscopic analysis example, they affect anthocyanin accumulation, which showed that, whereas in the plants harboring the control is also increased in response to nitrogen starvation and to GFP construct, fluorescence was distributed throughout a large number of environmental stresses, including cold the cell, in the plants harboring the GFPPHR1 con- and UV radiation (Dixon and Paiva 1995; Mol et al. struct, fluorescence was found in the nucleus, both in 1996). This defect in anthocyanin accumulation in the the wild-type and in the mutant phr1 grown under any Pi phr1 mutants is specific for phosphate starvation, how- regimen. This is shown in Figure 7 for the case of wild- ever, as no alteration in its accumulation is observed in these mutants in response to nitrogen starvation (Fig. type transformed plants, and indicates that the subcel- lular localization to the nucleus is independent of the Pi 1B,D) or to the stress-related hormones tested, abscisic status. A similar Pi status-independent nuclear localiza- and jasmonic acids (data not shown). These observations tion was found for the C.reinhardtii PSR1 protein indicate that responses common to several different (Wykoff et al. 1999). stresses may be controlled by signaling pathways spe- Table 1. Sequences related to the PHR1-binding site found at the upstream region of phosphate starvation-responsive genes from several plant species Gene Species Sequence Position Reference AtlPS1 Arabidopsis thaliana GCATATTC −598 Martin et al. 2000) AtlPS3 Arabidopsis thaliana GAATATGC −570 (J.C. del Pozo, J. Iglesia, V. Rubio, GAATATGC −745 A. Leyva, and J. Paz-Ares, unpubl.) AtACP5 Arabidopsis thaliana GAATATCC −290 (del Pozo et al. 1999) AtPT1 Arabidopsis thaliana GTATATCC −200 (Muchhal et al. 1996) At4 Arabidopsis thaliana GCATATTC −245 (Burleigh and Harrison 1999) GTATATGC −782 RNS1 Arabidopsis thaliana GTATATAC −188 (Bariola et al. 1994) PAP1 Arabidopsis thaliana GGATATAC −149 (Haran et al. 2000) TPSI1 Lycopersicum esculentum GCATATCC −551 (Liu et al. 1997) Mt4 Medicago truncatula GCATATCC −230 (Burleigh and Harrison 1997) The position is given for the most 5-upstream nucleotide with respect to the first ATG in the transcribed region. 2128 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling coiled–coil domain may be the dimerization domain. In agreement with this interpretation, a deletion derivative of PHR1 lacking part of the coiled–coil domain showed impaired high-affinity sequence-specific DNA binding. The combination of a characteristic MYB and a coiled– coil domain is shared by several other plant proteins (15 in A.thaliana) defining a family that we term the MYB– CC family. Phylogenetic analysis within this family re- veals two subgroups, I and II. PHR1 and PSR1 from C. reinhardtii belong to subgroup I, which contains several other members from A.thaliana more closely related to PHR1 than to PSR1. This raises the possibility of func- tional heterodimeric interactions between MYB–CC pro- teins through their coiled–coil domains, as well as the possibility of partial redundancy between members of this family. In line with this hypothesis, the two phr1 mutants studied, which probably carry loss-of-function mutations, only showed partial impairment of most of the molecular/physiological responses studied, in con- trast to the case of the psr1 mutations in C.reinhardtii. Scanning mutagenesis of the DNA target site for PHR1 allowed us to determine the sequence requirements for interaction. PHR1 binds to an imperfect palindrome of 8 bp. Interestingly, this sequence is present in all Pi star- vation-induced genes examined except PHR1 itself, in- cluding those acting in the scavenging, mobilization, and uptake of Pi. We conclude that PHR1 (or its highly re- Figure 7. Subcellular localization of a GFPPHR1 fusion pro- tein in wild-type plants grown under Pi sufficient and Pi star- lated counterparts) acts downstream in the Pi starvation vation conditions. Microscopic images of root cells from trans- signal-transduction pathway, and does not appear to be genic A.thaliana Col-0 plants harboring a control gene self regulated transcriptionally. 35SGFP (top)ora 35SGFPPHR1 fusion gene (bottom). It remains to be shown whether other members of the Plants were grown in complete medium for 5 d, then transferred MYB–CC family control other aspects of the Pi starva- to medium containing Pi (+P, left) or lacking Pi (−P, right )for7 tion response. It is well known that there are two types d before analysis. Scale bar, 20 µm. of response to Pi deprivation in plants, one which is sys- temically controlled by whole-plant Pi status and the cific to each stress type. In addition, they suggest that other governed by local Pi status (Drew 1975; Drew and anthocyanin accumulation is a primary response to Pi Saker 1984; Burleigh and Harrison 1999). Notably, of the starvation, rather than a secondary nonspecific side ef- various responses studied, the only ones that were unaf- fect controlled by a common mechanism as suspected fected in the phr1 alleles were root hair length and num- previously (Trull et al. 1997), as the phr1 mutant is ber, which are the only ones known to be controlled by stressed with respect to Pi when grown under Pi starva- local Pi status (Bates and Lynch 1996). tion conditions (Fig. 1B). Expression of PHR1, like that of PSR1, is detected in- PHR1 was cloned by chromosome walking assisted by dependent of the Pi status. In both cases, there is in- the choice of gene candidates and was shown to be re- creased RNA accumulation in response to Pi starvation, lated to the PSR1 gene from C.reinhardtii. This finding although to a lesser extent in the case of PHR1. Simi- further underlines the importance of C.reinhardtii as a larly, both PHR1 and PSR1 proteins are localized in the model system for photosynthetic eukaryotes. In addi- nucleus under any Pi regime. The presumed presence of tion, it shows that evolution of the Pi starvation rescue PHR1 in the nucleus of plants grown in Pi sufficient conditions raises the questions as to its role under these system in vascular plants involved the recruitment of conditions and to its regulation. In this regard, it is no- new responses, such as anthocyanin accumulation, to a ticeable that the Pi content of the mutant is lower than conserved regulatory system preexisting in the unicellu- that of the wild type when grown under a Pi sufficient lar ancestors. The PHR1 protein is 409 amino acids in regime, suggesting that PHR1 participates in the control size and contains two domains shared with PSR1, a of the plant Pi status under any Pi regime. On the other MYB-related domain, characteristic of DNA-binding hand, PHR1 is either post-translationally modified or the proteins, and a predicted coiled–coil domain, potentially protein is a constitutively active, specific component of involved in protein–protein interactions. In line with the Pi starvation signaling and a second component of the presence of these two domains, DNA-binding assays showed that PHR1 binds to DNA as a dimer in a se- signaling cascade responds to the signal. quence-specific manner. Thus, the MYB domain is likely The relevance of the Pi starvation rescue system in the to be involved in sequence-specific recognition, and the context of phosphorus nutrition efficiency is indicated GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2129 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Rubio et al. AP1 primer (from the Marathon RACE Kit) and the PHR1 prim- by the fact that the phr1 mutants display reduced growth ers 5-GATTCGTCTTCCTTGGTACCGGATTGCTTC-3 and under Pi starvation conditions (Fig. 1B). The identifica- 5-GGGATTGAAGAAGTGCGTGTGAGG-3. These PCR tion and cloning of PHR1 provides a potentially useful fragments were cloned into SmaI-digested pBluescript SK plas- tool toward engineering plants that require less phos- mids (Stratagene) and sequenced. phate fertilizer. Genetic analysis and positional cloning of PHR1 Materials and methods phr1-1 mutant plants were backcrossed four times to wild-type plants (Col-0 ecotype) to test the linkage of the different phe- notypes observed to a single recessive mutation. For mapping Strains and growth conditions purposes, phr1-1 plants (Col-0 ecotype) were crossed to wild- type plants of the Landsberg erecta ecotype (Ler). Twelve-day- All A.thaliana plants used in this study, including mutants and old F seedlings that displayed the anthocyaninless phenotype transgenic plants, were on the Columbia (Col-0) or the Lands- 2 under phosphorus starvation were isolated. DNA from these berg erecta background. Plants were grown in complete me- plants was prepared and used to analyze linkage of the phr1-1 dium (+P) as described by Bates and Lynch (1996), using one- mutation to previously described SSLP (Bell and Ecker 1994) and strength nutrient salts (Johnson et al. 1957). In the Pi deficient CAPS (Konieczny and Ausubel 1993). PHR1 was mapped to medium (−P), KH PO was replaced by equimolar amounts of 2 4 chromosome 4 between RPS2 and prha CAPS markers. To iden- KCl . In nitrogen deficient medium (−N), Ca(NO ) and KNO 2 3 2 3 tify the mutant gene, we generated molecular markers (Table 2). were replaced by equimolar amounts of CaCl and K SO ,re- 2 2 4 spectively. Growth chamber conditions were 22°C, 60% hu- Plant transformation midity, and a 16-h light/8-h dark photoperiod with 100 µE/m per sec of white light. Two types of constructs were used to transform A.thaliana plants by use of the vacuum infiltration method (Bechtold et al. 1993). One corresponded to the genomic DNA containing the Isolation of mutants PHR1 gene, which was used to complement the mutant phr1-1. A.thaliana seeds (50,000) of a homozygous line harboring the The genomic fragment was obtained by PCR amplification from phosphate starvation responsive AtIPS1GUS reporter gene wild-type plants using as primers: 5-CAACGAAGATTAC (Martín et al. 2000) were mutagenized with ethyl EMS by treat- GAAGCTCGAAAGTACG-3 (positions −2063 to −2035 rela- ing hydrated seeds (soaked overnight in distilled water) with tive to the start of translation) and 5-CATCGAAGGCT 0.3% EMS for 13 h, then sowed directly onto soil in 56 pots. GAGATACTGCTGGAGGTCGG-3 (positions 2580 to 2550). Seeds were harvested separately as M families. M seeds (450) 1 2 The PCR fragment was digested with HindIII and cloned in the from each M family were plated directly on low-phosphorus binary vector pBIB plasmid (Becker 1990), which confers hygro- medium and, after 9 d, screened for GUS expression using a mycin resistance in planta. nondestructive assay (Martin et al. 1997). Putative mutants The second construct corresponded to a GFPPHR1 transla- showing impaired phosphate starvation response were recov- tional fusion used to examine the subcellular localization of ered on fresh complete medium and transferred to soil. M seeds PHR1. To do this, a PHR1 fragment of 1327 bp was amplified by were retested for inheritance of the observed phenotype. PCR using the PHR1 primers 5-AAAAAAAGATCTATTC A search for phr1-1 alleles was performed by taking advantage GTCTTCCTTGGTCCTGGATTGC-3 and 5- GAAGAACCT of the colorless phenotype of phr1 plants grown under Pi star- CAAGATAAGAGCTCG-3. This fragment was digested with vation conditions. M seedlings (100,000) were grown under Pi BglII and fused translationally to the 3 end of the GFP ORF starvation conditions for 12 d, and plants showing colorless contained in the pAVA393 plasmid, which encodes GFP version cotyledons were subsequently subjected to analysis of GUS ac- 5 (Siemering et al. 1996). This construct and the pAVA393 (as a tivity, and the one showing reduced GUS activity was selected. positive control) were used to transform both the wild type and Prior to the phenotypic analysis, the phr1-1 allele was back- the phr1 mutant. crossed four times with the wild-type transgenic reporter line. Visualization of GFP and derivatives Physiological measurements GFP fluorescence was visualized by use of a Leica DM-R mi- croscope (Leica Microsystem, Wetzlar GmBH, Germany). GFP Anthocyanin was extracted from rosettes of plants grown on complete medium (+P) for 5 d, then transferred to +P, −P, or −N medium for 7 d. Anthocyanin content was measured as de- Table 2. New markers generated for positional cloning scribed previously (Swain and Hillis 1959). The method of Ames of PHR1 (1966) was used to determine the cellular phosphorus content of Marker Size Col (bp)/Ler Primers seedlings grown on complete medium (+P) for 5 d, and then transferred to +P or −P medium for 7 d. Mean values were com- T15N24 Col (177) > Ler 5-GAAGTTTCCACAGACGAGG-3 pared by use of a Student’s t test. 5-CAGCTAAGGGTTCTGCATCC-3 F27G19 Col (179) > Ler 5-CCCACTTCAACACAATTCTTCC-3 5-CAATTGCAGCTACAGATCGC-3 Molecular procedures F20O9 Col (135) < Ler 5-CTCATAATGCATTGAACCC-3 5-GTTACAATACCATGCACG-3 Routine molecular work was performed as described previously, F16A16 Col (167) > Ler 5-GCATATCAAACTCAGAGG-3 except where indicated (Sambrook et al. 1989; del Pozo et al. 5-CACATATCTAAATACAGACC-3 1999). Genomic DNA was isolated as described by Doyle and F19B15 Col (181) > Ler 5-GTATGTTTTTCAATGTATTTGG-3 Doyle (1990). A full-length cDNA of PHR1 was isolated by use 5-GACAACTACTTTTGTGGATG-3 of the Marathon RACE Kit as described by the manufacturer (Clontech), Expand High Fidelity polymerase (Boehringer), the All were named for the BAC from which they are derived. 2130 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A plant MYB gene in Pi starvation signaling excitation was performed with standard FITC filters. Images of payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby roots were taken through FITC filters with an Apogee KX85 marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 USC section CCD camera (Apogee Instruments), splitting the emission sig- 1734 solely to indicate this fact. nal into two channels, one for GFP emission (green channel) and one for autofluorescence (red channel, not shown). 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GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2133 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on December 14, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press A conserved MYB transcription factor involved in phosphate starvation signaling both in vascular plants and in unicellular algae Vicente Rubio, Francisco Linhares, Roberto Solano, et al. Genes Dev. 2001, 15: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.204401 This article cites 59 articles, 17 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/15/16/2122.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top Email Alerting right corner of the article or click here. Service Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

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