Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 5359–5379 | Cite as

Transcriptional responses of maize seedling root to phosphorus starvation

  • Hai-Jian Lin
  • Jian Gao
  • Zhi-Ming Zhang
  • Ya-Ou Shen
  • Hai Lan
  • Li Liu
  • Kui Xiang
  • Maojun Zhao
  • Shufeng Zhou
  • Yong-Zhong Zhang
  • Shi-Bin Gao
  • Guang-Tang PanEmail author


Maize (Zea mays) is the most widely cultivated crop around the world, however, it is commonly affected by phosphate (Pi) deficiency and the underlying molecular basis of responses mechanism is still unknown. In this study, the transcriptional response of maize roots to Pi starvation at 3 days after the onset of Pi deprivation was assessed. The investigation revealed a total of 283 Pi-responsive genes, of which 199 and 84 genes were found to be either up- or down-regulated respectively, by 2-fold or more. Pi-responsive genes were found to be involved in sugar and nitrogen metabolic pathways, ion transport, signal transduction, transcriptional regulation, and other processes related to growth and development. In addition, the expression patterns of maize inorganic phosphorus transporters, acid phosphatase, phytase, 2-deoxymugineic acid synthase1, POD and MYB transcription factor were validated in 178 roots response to low phosphorus stress. of which, two genes encoding phytase and acid phosphatase were significantly induced by Pi deficiency and may play a pivotal role in the process of absorption and re-utilization of Pi in Maize. These results not only enhance our knowledge about molecular processes associated with Pi deficiency, but also facilitate the identification of key molecular determinants for improving Pi use in maize. Moreover, this work sets a framework to produce Pi-specific maize microarrays to study the changes in global gene expression between Pi-efficient and Pi-inefficient maize genotypes.


Microarray Maize Transcriptional response Phosphorus starvation Gene expression and regulation 



This work was supported by National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (SS2012AA100107, 2012AA10A300), supported by Major Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (2011AA10A103_2).

Supplementary material

11033_2013_2636_MOESM1_ESM.doc (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 27 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hai-Jian Lin
    • 1
  • Jian Gao
    • 1
  • Zhi-Ming Zhang
    • 1
  • Ya-Ou Shen
    • 1
  • Hai Lan
    • 1
  • Li Liu
    • 1
  • Kui Xiang
    • 1
  • Maojun Zhao
    • 2
  • Shufeng Zhou
    • 1
  • Yong-Zhong Zhang
    • 1
  • Shi-Bin Gao
    • 1
  • Guang-Tang Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Resources and Improvement, Ministry of Education, Institute of Maize ResearchSichuan Agricultural UniversityWenjiangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Life Science College of Sichuan Agricultural UniversityYa’anPeople’s Republic of China

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