Functional PTB phosphate transporters are present in streptophyte algae and early diverging land plants

Clémence Bonnot, Hélène Proust, Benoît Pinson, Florine P L Colbalchini, Alexis Lesly-Veillard, Holger Breuninger, Clément Champion, Alexander J Hetherington, Steven Kelly, Liam Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Two inorganic phosphate (Pi) uptake mechanisms operate in streptophytes and chlorophytes, the two lineages of green plants. PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER B (PTB) proteins are hypothesized to be the Na+/Pi symporters catalysing Pi uptake in chlorophytes, whereas PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER 1 (PHT1) proteins are the H+/Pi symporters that carry out Pi uptake in angiosperms. PHT1 proteins are present in all streptophyte lineages. However, Pi uptake in streptophyte algae and marine angiosperms requires Na+ influx, suggesting that Na+/Pi symporters also function in some streptophytes.

We tested the hypothesis that Na+/Pi symporters exist in streptophytes.

We identified PTB sequences in streptophyte genomes. Core PTB proteins are present at the plasma membrane of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. The expression of M. polymorpha core PTB proteins in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pho2 mutant defective in high-affinity Pi transport rescues growth in low-Pi environments. Moreover, levels of core PTB mRNAs of M. polymorpha and the streptophyte alga Coleochaete nitellarum are higher in low-Pi than in Pi-replete conditions, consistent with a role in Pi uptake from the environment.

We conclude that land plants inherited two Pi uptake mechanisms – mediated by the PTB and PHT1 proteins, respectively – from their streptophyte algal ancestor. Both systems operate in parallel in extant early diverging land plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1171
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


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