ZmAPRG, an uncharacterized gene, enhances acid phosphatase activity and Pi concentration in maize leaf during phosphate starvation

  • Tingting Yu
  • Chaoxian Liu
  • Xuefeng Lu
  • Yang Bai
  • Lian Zhou
  • Yilin CaiEmail author
Original Article


Key message

An uncharacterized gene, ZmAPRG, isolated by map-based cloning, enhances acid phosphatase activity and phosphate concentration in maize leaf during phosphate starvation.


Acid phosphatase (APase) plays important roles in the absorption and utilization of phosphate (Pi) during maize growth. The information on genes regulating the acid phosphatase activity (APA) in maize leaves remains obscured. In a previous study, we delimited the quantitative trait locus, QTL-AP9 for APA to a region of about 546 kb. Here, we demonstrate that the GRMZM2G041022 located in the 546 kb region is a novel acid phosphatase-regulating gene (ZmAPRG). Its overexpression significantly increased the APA and Pi concentration in maize and rice leaves. Subcellular localization of ZmAPRG showed that it was anchored on the plasma and nuclear membrane. The transcriptome analysis of maize ZmAPRG overexpressing lines (ZmAPRG OE) revealed 1287 up-regulated and 392 down-regulated genes. Among these, we found APase, protein phosphatase, and phosphate transporter genes, which are known to be implicated in the metabolism and utilization of Pi. We inferred the ZmAPRG functions as an upstream regulation node, directly or indirectly regulating APases, protein phosphatases, and phosphate transporter genes involved in Pi metabolism and utilization in maize. These findings will pave the way for elucidating the mechanism of APase regulation, absorption and utilization of Pi, and would facilitate maize breeding for efficient use of fertilizers.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31371700) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XDJK2018C052).

Compliance with ethical standards


The experiments comply with the current laws of the country.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

122_2018_3257_MOESM1_ESM.docx (707 kb)
Fig. S1 Coding sequence blast result of Expansin A20 between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S2 Promoter sequence blast result of VQ family gene between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S3 Coding sequence blast result of GRMZM2G122476 between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S4 Coding sequence blast result of Zinc finger family gene between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S5 Coding sequence blast result of ZmAPRG between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S6 Expression patterns of candidate genes in Ye107 and the NIL. Fig. S7 Promoter sequence blast result of ZmAPRG between 082 and Ye107. Fig. S8 Prediction of transmembrane helices in ZmAPRG of 082 and Ye107 (DOCX 707 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM2_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Table S1 Primer sequences for preliminary candidate genes. Table S2 Primer sequences for the qRT-PCR. Table S3 Primer sequences for the ZmAPRG. Table S4 Biomass of Y107 and NIL plants hydroponically supplied with HP and LP condition (DOCX 21 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM3_ESM.docx (439 kb)
Table S5 Gene information of 2443 up-regulated genes (DOCX 439 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM4_ESM.docx (277 kb)
Table S6 Gene information of 1400 down-regulated genes (DOCX 277 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM5_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Table S7 Enriched Go term analysis for the 1287 up-regulated genes (DOCX 29 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM6_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Table S8 Enriched Go term analysis for the 392 down-regulated genes (DOCX 18 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM7_ESM.docx (236 kb)
Table S9 Gene information of 1287 up-regulated genes involved in enriched Go term (DOCX 236 kb)
122_2018_3257_MOESM8_ESM.docx (96 kb)
Table S10 Gene information of 392 down-regulated genes involved in enriched Go term (DOCX 95 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tingting Yu
    • 1
  • Chaoxian Liu
    • 1
  • Xuefeng Lu
    • 1
  • Yang Bai
    • 1
  • Lian Zhou
    • 1
  • Yilin Cai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Crop Quality Improvement, Maize Research Institute, Ministry of AgricultureSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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