Identification of plant vacuolar transporters mediating phosphate storage

Tzu Yin Liu, Teng Kuei Huang, Shu Yi Yang, Yu Ting Hong, Sheng Min Huang, Fu Nien Wang, Su Fen Chiang, Shang Yueh Tsai, Wen Chien Lu, Tzyy Jen Chiou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

198 Scopus citations


Plant vacuoles serve as the primary intracellular compartments for inorganic phosphate (Pi) storage. Passage of Pi across vacuolar membranes plays a critical role in buffering the cytoplasmic Pi level against fluctuations of external Pi and metabolic activities. Here we demonstrate that the SPX-MFS proteins, designated as PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER 5 family (PHT5), also named Vacuolar Phosphate Transporter (VPT), function as vacuolar Pi transporters. Based on 31 P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy analysis, Arabidopsis pht5;1 loss-of-function mutants accumulate less Pi and exhibit a lower vacuolar-to-cytoplasmic Pi ratio than controls. Conversely, overexpression of PHT5 leads to massive Pi sequestration into vacuoles and altered regulation of Pi starvation-responsive genes. Furthermore, we show that heterologous expression of the rice homologue OsSPX-MFS1 mediates Pi influx to yeast vacuoles. Our findings show that a group of Pi transporters in vacuolar membranes regulate cytoplasmic Pi homeostasis and are required for fitness and plant growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11095
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 31 03 2016
Externally publishedYes


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