Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Mycorrhiza (2013) 23:507–514. DOI: 10.1007/s00572-013-0491-1


Previous studies have found that some phosphate (Pi) starvation inducible transporter genes are downregulated and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inducible Pi transporter genes are upregulated in maize roots associated with the fungus Glomus intraradices. However, little is known about the functional diversity of different AM fungal species in influencing the expression of Pi transporters in maize roots. Here, we studied the expression of two Pi transporter genes ZEAma:Pht1;3 (Pi starvation inducible) and ZEAma:Pht1;6 (AM inducible) in maize root colonized by different AM fungal inoculants. Non-mycorrhizal maize, maize colonized by Glomus deserticola (CA113), Glomus intraradices (IA506), Glomus mosseae (CA201), Gigaspora gigantea (MN922A) and the co-inoculation of all four species were established. The expression patterns of the two genes were quantified using real-time, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The expression level of ZEAma:Pht1;6 was 26–135 times higher in AM plants than in non-mycorrhizal maize roots, whereas the expression level of ZEAma:Pht1;3 was five to 44 times lower in AM plants than in nonmycorrhizal plants. Expression of the two genes differed with inoculation treatment, and increasing the diversity of AM fungi in maize roots led to greater expression of ZEAma: Pht1;6 as well as Pi uptake in shoots. The expression of ZEAma:Pht1;6 was significantly positively correlated with AM colonization rate, concentration of AM biomarkers in maize roots, Pi uptake and dry weight of shoot, but negatively correlated with the expression of ZEAma:Pht1;3. Addition of Pi fertilizer at a low concentration significantly increased the expression of ZEAma:Pht1;6 but had no effect on the expression of ZEAma:Pht1;3.