The effect of iron on the primary root elongation of Arabidopsis during phosphate deficiency

James T. Ward, Brett Lahner, Elena Yakubova, David E. Salt, Kashchandra G. Raghothama

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261 Citations (Scopus)


Root architecture differences have been linked to the survival of plants on phosphate (P)-deficient soils, as well as to the improved yields of P-efficient crop cultivars. To understand how these differences arise, we have studied the root architectures of P-deficient Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana Columbia-0) plants. A striking aspect of the root architecture of these plants is that their primary root elongation is inhibited when grown on P-deficient medium. Here, we present evidence suggesting that this inhibition is a result of iron (Fe) toxicity. When the Fe concentration in P-deficient medium is reduced, we observe elongation of the primary root without an increase in P availability or a corresponding change in the expression of P deficiency-regulated genes. Recovery of the primary root elongation is associated with larger plant weights, improved ability to take up P from the medium, and increased tissue P content. This suggests that manipulating Fe availability to a plant could be a valuable strategy for improving a plant's ability to tolerate P deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1191
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number3
Early online date1 May 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • oryza-sativa l.
  • Crossman, A. R.
  • system architecture
  • plant-responses
  • rice
  • toxicity
  • absorption
  • physiology
  • potassium
  • thaliana


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