Intracellular inorganic orthophosphate (Pi) distribution and homeostasis profoundly affect plant growth and development. However, its distribution patterns remain elusive owing to the lack of efficient cellular Pi imaging methods. Here we develop a rapid colorimetric Pi imaging method, inorganic orthophosphate staining assay (IOSA), that can semi-quantitatively image intracellular Pi with high resolution. We used IOSA to reveal the alteration of cellular Pi distribution caused by Pi starvation or mutations that alter Pi homeostasis in two model plants, rice and Arabidopsis, and found that xylem parenchyma cells and basal node sieve tube element cells play a critical role in Pi homeostasis in rice. We also used IOSA to screen for mutants altered in cellular Pi homeostasis. From this, we have identified a novel cellular Pi distribution regulator, HPA1/PHO1;1, specifically expressed in the companion and xylem parenchyma cells regulating phloem Pi translocation from the leaf tip to the leaf base in rice. Taken together, IOSA provides a powerful method for visualizing cellular Pi distribution and facilitates the analysis of Pi signalling and homeostasis from the level of the cell to the whole plant.
Inorganic orthophosphate staining assay (IOSA) procedures for cellular Pi-distribution analysis in plant tissues
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