Strigolactones are transported through the xylem and play a key role in shoot architectural response to phosphate deficiency in nonarbuscular mycorrhizal host Arabidopsis

Kohlen, W.; Charnikhova, T.; Qing, L.; Bours, R.M.E.H.; Domagalska, M.; Beguerie, S.; Verstappen, F.W.A.; Leyser, O.; Bouwmeester, H.J.; Ruyter-Spira, C.P.


The biosynthesis of the recently identified novel class of plant hormones, strigolactones, is up-regulated upon phosphate deficiency in many plant species. It is generally accepted that the evolutionary origin of strigolactone up-regulation is their function as a rhizosphere signal that stimulates hyphal branching of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In this work, we demonstrate that this induction is conserved in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), although Arabidopsis is not a host for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We demonstrate that the increase in strigolactone production contributes to the changes in shoot architecture observed in response to phosphate deficiency. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, column chromatography, and multiple reaction monitoring-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis, we identified two strigolactones (orobanchol and orobanchyl acetate) in Arabidopsis and have evidence of the presence of a third (5-deoxystrigol). We show that at least one of them (orobanchol) is strongly reduced in the putative strigolactone biosynthetic mutants more axillary growth1 (max1) and max4 but not in the signal transduction mutant max2. Orobanchol was also detected in xylem sap and up-regulated under phosphate deficiency, which is consistent with the idea that root-derived strigolactones are transported to the shoot, where they regulate branching. Moreover, two additional putative strigolactone-like compounds were detected in xylem sap, one of which was not detected in root exudates. Together, these results show that xylem-transported strigolactones contribute to the regulation of shoot architectural response to phosphate-limiting conditions.