Chin J Plant Ecol
2017, 41 (
Aims Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis plays an important role in plant adaptation to phosphorus (P) deficiency. The mycorrhizal fungi can directly regulate P stress response of the host plants, and can also indirectly influence neighbor plants via AM exudates. This study aimed to reveal the regulation mechanisms of plant response to P deficiency by AM associations. Methods In a compartmentation cultivation experiment with Zea mays ‘B73’ and AM fungus Rhizophagus irregularis ‘DAOM197198’, we investigated mycorrhizal effects on plant P nutrition and the expression of plant and fungal genes related to P and carbon (C) metabolisms under both low P (10 mg?kg-1) and high P (100 mg?kg-1) conditions. The cultivation system consisted of three compartments, namely donor compartment, buffer compartment and receiver compartment divided by two pieces of microporous filters with pore size of 0.45 μm. Maize plant in donor compartment inoculated with AM fungus served as a source of AM exudates. The microporous filters could restrict the development of extraradical mycelium of AM fungi, but allow diffusion of AM exudates. Real-time PCR was performed to quantify the gene expression levels both in maize plants and AM fungi. Important findings The experimental results indicated that under low P conditions mycorrhizal colonization increased plant dry weight and P concentration in donor plants, and up-regulated plant genes encoding P transporters Pht1;2, Pht1;6, phosphoenolpiruvate carboxylase (PEPC), inorganic pyrophosphatase (TC289), glycerol-3-phosphate transporter (G3PT) and malate synthase (MAS1). The expression of AM fungal genes encoding P transporter (GiPT), GlcNAc transporter (NGT1), GlcNAc kinase (HXK1b), GlcNAc phosphomutase (AGM1), UDP GlcNAc pyrophosphorylase (UAP1), chitin synthase (CHS1), GlcNAc-6-phosphate deacetylase (DAC1) and glucosamine-6-phosphate isomerase (NAG1) was significantly higher under low P conditions compared with high P conditions. However, for the receiver plants, plant dry mass and P concentration were only significantly increased by higher P addition, while inoculation treatment significantly up-regulated the expression of P transporter genes Pht1;2 and Pht1;6, C metabolism related genes G3PT, PEPC, TC289 and MAS1. The study proved that AM exudates could potentially stimulate plant response to P deficiency by regulating functional genes relevant to P and C metabolisms in the mycorrhizal associations.