Transcriptional and morpho-physiological responses of Marchantia polymorpha upon phosphate starvation

Félix Rico-Reséndiz, Sergio Alan Cervantes-Pérez, Annie Espinal-Centeno, Melissa Dipp-Álvarez, Araceli Oropeza-Aburto, Enrique Hurtado-Bautista, Andrés Cruz-Hernández, John L. Bowman, Kimitsune Ishizaki, Mario A. Arteaga-Vázquez, Luis Herrera-Estrella, Alfredo Cruz-Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphate (Pi) is a pivotal nutrient that constraints plant development and productivity in natural ecosystems. Land colonization by plants, more than 470 million years ago, evolved adaptive mechanisms to conquer Pi-scarce environments. However, little is known about the molecular basis underlying such adaptations at early branches of plant phylogeny. To shed light on how early divergent plants respond to Pi limitation, we analyzed the morpho-physiological and transcriptional dynamics of Marchantia polymorpha upon Pi starvation. Our phylogenomic analysis highlights some gene networks present since the Chlorophytes and others established in the Streptophytes (e.g., PHR1-SPX1 and STOP1-ALMT1, respectively). At the morpho-physiological level, the response is characterized by the induction of phosphatase activity, media acidification, accumulation of auronidins, reduction of internal Pi concentration, and developmental modifications of rhizoids. The transcriptional response involves the induction of MpPHR1, Pi transporters, lipid turnover enzymes, and MpMYB14, which is an essential transcription factor for auronidins biosynthesis. MpSTOP2 up-regulation correlates with expression changes in genes related to organic acid biosynthesis and transport, suggesting a preference for citrate exudation. An analysis of MpPHR1 binding sequences (P1BS) shows an enrichment of this cis regulatory element in differentially expressed genes. Our study unravels the strategies, at diverse levels of organization, exerted by M. polymorpha to cope with low Pi availability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8354
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2020


  • land plant evolution
  • Marchantia polymorpha
  • Pi starvation and RNA-seq

Cite this