Duplicate and conquer: multiple homologs of PHOSPHORUS-STARVATION TOLERANCE1 enhance phosphorus acquisition and sorghum performance on low-phosphorus soils.

Hufnagel B, de Sousa SM, Assis L, Guimaraes CT, Leiser W, Azevedo GC, Negri B, Larson BG, Shaff JE, Pastina MM, Barros BA, Weltzien E, Rattunde HF, Viana JH, Clark RT, Falc√£o A, Gazaffi R, Garcia AA, Schaffert RE, Kochian LV, Magalhaes JV

Published: 6 September 2014 in Plant physiology
Keywords: No keywords in Pubmed
Pubmed ID: 25189534
DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.243949

Low soil phosphorus (P) availability is a major constraint for crop production in tropical regions. The rice (Oryza sativa) protein kinase, PHOSPHORUS-STARVATION TOLERANCE1 (OsPSTOL1), was previously shown to enhance P acquisition and grain yield in rice under P deficiency. We investigated the role of homologs of OsPSTOL1 in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) performance under low P. Association mapping was undertaken in two sorghum association panels phenotyped for P uptake, root system morphology and architecture in hydroponics and grain yield and biomass accumulation under low-P conditions, in Brazil and/or in Mali. Root length and root surface area were positively correlated with grain yield under low P in the soil, emphasizing the importance of P acquisition efficiency in sorghum adaptation to low-P availability. SbPSTOL1 alleles reducing root diameter were associated with enhanced P uptake under low P in hydroponics, whereas Sb03g006765 and Sb03g0031680 alleles increasing root surface area also increased grain yield in a low-P soil. SbPSTOL1 genes colocalized with quantitative trait loci for traits underlying root morphology and dry weight accumulation under low P via linkage mapping. Consistent allelic effects for enhanced sorghum performance under low P between association panels, including enhanced grain yield under low P in the soil in Brazil, point toward a relatively stable role for Sb03g006765 across genetic backgrounds and environmental conditions. This study indicates that multiple SbPSTOL1 genes have a more general role in the root system, not only enhancing root morphology traits but also changing root system architecture, which leads to grain yield gain under low-P availability in the soil.