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Sulphur limitation and early sulphur deficiency responses in poplar: significance of gene expression, metabolites, and plant hormones

Honsel, Anne, Kojima, Mikiko, Haas, Richard, Frank, Wolfgang, Sakakibara, Hitoshi, Herschbach, Cornelia, Rennenberg, Heinz
Journal of experimental botany 2012 v.63 no.5 pp. 1873-1893
Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassica, Populus alba, adenosine triphosphate, gene expression, hormone metabolism, interphase, leaves, metabolites, phloem, plant growth, plant hormones, roots, sap, sulfates, sulfur, time series analysis, transporters, vacuoles, xylem
The influence of sulphur (S) depletion on the expression of genes related to S metabolism, and on metabolite and plant hormone contents was analysed in young and mature leaves, fine roots, xylem sap, and phloem exudates of poplar (Populus tremulaxPopulus alba) with special focus on early consequences. S depletion was applied by a gradual decrease of sulphate availability. The observed changes were correlated with sulphate contents. Based on the decrease in sulphate contents, two phases of S depletion could be distinguished that were denominated as ‘S limitation’ and ‘early S deficiency’. S limitation was characterized by improved sulphate uptake (enhanced root-specific sulphate transporter PtaSULTR1;2 expression) and reduction capacities (enhanced adenosine 5'-phosphosulphate (APS) reductase expression) and by enhanced remobilization of sulphate from the vacuole (enhanced putative vacuolar sulphate transporter PtaSULTR4;2 expression). During early S deficiency, whole plant distribution of S was impacted, as indicated by increasing expression of the phloem-localized sulphate transporter PtaSULTR1;1 and by decreasing glutathione contents in fine roots, young leaves, mature leaves, and phloem exudates. Furthermore, at ‘early S deficiency’, expression of microRNA395 (miR395), which targets transcripts of PtaATPS3/4 (ATP sulphurylase) for cleavage, increased. Changes in plant hormone contents were observed at ‘early S deficiency’ only. Thus, S depletion affects S and plant hormone metabolism of poplar during ‘S limitation’ and ‘early S deficiency’ in a time series of events. Despite these consequences, the impact of S depletion on growth of poplar plants appears to be less severe than in Brassicaceae such as Arabidopsis thaliana or Brassica sp.