Phosphate (Pi)-deficient soils are a major limitant factor for crop production in many regions of the world. Despite that plants have innovated several developmental and biochemical strategies to deal with this stress, there are still massive extensions of land which combine several abiotic stresses, including phosphate starvation, that limit their use for plant growth and food production. In several plant species, a genetic programme underlies the biochemical and developmental responses of the organism to cope with low phosphate (Pi) availability. Both protein- and miRNA-coding genes involved in the adaptative response are transcriptionally activated upon Pi starvation. Several of the responsive genes have been identified as transcriptional targets of PHR1, a transcription factor that binds a conserved cis-element called PHR1-binding site (P1BS). Our group has previously described and characterized a minimal genetic arrangement that includes two P1BS elements, as a phosphate-responsive enhancer (EZ2). Here, we report the engineering and successful use of a phosphate-dependent bidirectional promoter, which has been designed and constructed based on the palindromic sequences of the two P1BS elements present in EZ2. This bidirectional promoter has a potential use in both plant in vitro approaches and in the generation of improved crops adapted to Pi starvation and other abiotic stresses.
- crop improvement
- phosphate starvation