QTL and candidate genes associated with leaf anion concentrations in response to phosphate supply in Arabidopsis thaliana

Mohamed El-Soda, Charles Neris Moreira, Nakai Goredema-Matongera, Diaan Jamar, Maarten Koornneef, Mark G.M. Aarts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Phosphorus is often present naturally in the soil as inorganic phosphate, Pi, which bio-availability is limited in many ecosystems due to low soil solubility and mobility. Plants respond to low Pi with a Pi Starvation Response, involving Pi sensing and long-distance signalling. There is extensive cross-talk between Pi homeostasis mechanisms and the homeostasis mechanism for other anions in response to Pi availability. Results: Recombinant Inbred Line (RIL) and Genome Wide Association (GWA) mapping populations, derived from or composed of natural accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana, were grown under sufficient and deficient Pi supply. Significant treatment effects were found for all traits and significant genotype x treatment interactions for the leaf Pi and sulphate concentrations. Using the RIL/QTL population, we identified 24 QTLs for leaf concentrations of Pi and other anions, including a major QTL for leaf sulphate concentration (SUL2) mapped to the bottom of chromosome (Chr) 1. GWA mapping found 188 SNPs to be associated with the measured traits, corresponding to 152 genes. One of these SNPs, associated with leaf Pi concentration, mapped to PP2A-1, a gene encoding an isoform of the catalytic subunit of a protein phosphatase 2A. Of two additional SNPs, associated with phosphate use efficiency (PUE), one mapped to AT5G49780, encoding a leucine-rich repeat protein kinase involved in signal transduction, and the other to SIZ1, a gene encoding a SUMO E3 ligase, and a known regulator of P starvation-dependent responses. One SNP associated with leaf sulphate concentration was found in SULTR2;1, encoding a sulphate transporter, known to enhance sulphate translocation from root to shoot under P deficiency. Finally, one SNP was mapped to FMO GS-OX4, a gene encoding glucosinolate S-oxygenase involved in glucosinolate biosynthesis, which located within the confidence interval of the SUL2 locus. Conclusion: We identified several candidate genes with known functions related to anion homeostasis in response to Pi availability. Further molecular studies are needed to confirm and validate these candidate genes and understand their roles in examined traits. Such knowledge will contribute to future breeding for improved crop PUE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number410
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2019


  • Anion concentration
  • Phosphate deficiency
  • QTL and association mapping
  • QTL x E


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