, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 259-273
Date: 09 Jan 2011

Differential expression and alternative splicing of rice sulphate transporter family members regulate sulphur status during plant growth, development and stress conditions

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Abstract

Sulphur, an essential nutrient required for plant growth and development, is mainly taken up by the plants as inorganic sulphate from the soil and assimilated into the sulphur reductive pathway. The uptake and transport of sulphate in plants is carried out by transporters encoded by the sulphate transporter gene family. Plant sulphate transporters have been classified with respect to their protein sequences, kinetic properties and tissue-specific localization in Arabidopsis. Though sulphate transporter genes from few other plants have also been characterized, no detailed study with respect to the structure and expression of this family from rice has been carried out. Here, we present genome-wide identification, structural and expression analyses of the rice sulphate transporter gene family. Our analysis using microarray data and MPSS database suggests that 14 rice sulphate transporters are differentially expressed during growth and development in various tissues and during biotic and abiotic stresses. Our analysis also suggests differential accumulation of splice variants of OsSultr1;1 and OsSultr4;1 transcripts during these processes. Apart from known spliced variants, we report an unusual alternative splicing of OsSultr1;1 transcript related to sulphur supply in growth medium and during stress response. Taken together, our study suggests that differential expression and alternative splicing of members of the sulphate transporter family plays an important role in regulating cellular sulphur status required for growth and development and during stress conditions. These findings significantly advance our understanding of the posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms operating to regulate sulphur demand by the plant.