Plant Diversity ›› 2016, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (02): 114-123.

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Control of sulfate concentration by miR395-targeted APS genes in Arabidopsis thaliana

Qin Ai1,2, Gang Liang1, Huimin Zhang3, Diqiu Yu1*   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650223, China
    2. School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2015-03-25 Revised:2015-04-27 Online:2016-04-25 Published:2016-04-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant No. 31100186]


Sulfur nutrition is crucial for plant growth and development, as well as crop yield and quality. Inorganic sulfate in the soil is the major sulfur source for plants. After uptake, sulfate is activated by ATP sulfurylase, and then gets assimilated into sulfurcontaining metabolites. However, the mechanism of regulation of sulfate levels by ATP sulfurylase is unclear. Here, we investigated the control of sulfate levels by miR395mediated regulation of APS1/3/4. Sulfate was overaccumulated in the shoots of miR395 overexpression plants in which the expression of the APS1, APS3, and APS4 genes was suppressed. Accordingly, reduced expression of miR395 caused a decline of sulfate concentration. In agreement with these results, overexpression of the APS1, APS3, and APS4 genes led to the reduction of sulfate levels. Differential expression of these three APS genes in response to sulfate starvation implied that they have different functions. Further investigation revealed that the regulation of sulfate levels mediated by miR395 depends on the repression of its APS targets. Unlike the APS1, APS3, and APS4 genes, which encode plastidlocalized ATP sulfurylases, the APS2 gene encodes a cytosolic version of ATP sulfurylase. Genetic analysis indicated that APS2 has no significant effect on sulfate levels. Our data suggest that miR395targeted APS genes are key regulators of sulfate concentration in leaves.

Key words: Sulfur, miR395, APS1, APS2, APS3, APS4, ATP sulfurylase