About 60–85% of total phosphorus (P) in cereal crops is finally allocated to seeds, where it is required for seed development, germination and early growth. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying P allocation to seeds. Here, we found that two members (OsPHO1;1 and OsPHO1;2) of the PHO1 gene family are involved in the distribution of P to seeds in rice. Both OsPHO1;1 and OsPHO1;2 were localized to the plasma membrane and showed influx transport activities for inorganic phosphate. At the reproductive stage, both OsPHO1;1 and OsPHO1;2 showed higher expression in node I, the uppermost node connecting to the panicle. OsPHO1;1 was mainly localized at the phloem region of diffuse vascular bundles (DVBs) of node I, while OsPHO1;2 was expressed in the xylem parenchyma cells of the enlarged vascular bundles (EVBs). In addition, they were also expressed in the ovular vascular trace, the outer layer of the inner integument (OsPHO1;1) and in the nucellar epidermis (OsPHO1;2) of caryopses. Knockout of OsPHO1;2, as well as OsPHO1;1 to a lesser extent, decreased the distribution of P to the seed, resulting in decreased seed size and delayed germination. Taken together, OsPHO1;2 expressed in node I is responsible for the unloading of P from the xylem of EVBs, while OsPHO1;1 is involved in reloading P into the phloem of DVBs for subsequent allocation of P to seeds. Furthermore, OsPHO1;1 and OsPHO1;2 expression in the caryopsis is important for delivering P from the maternal tissues to the filial tissues for seed development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology