PvSPX1 was found to be a positive regulator in the P signalling network of common bean, and is downstream of PvPHR1.
Proteins containing the SPX domain are believed to play vital roles in the phosphorus (P) signalling network in plants. However, the functions of SPX proteins in legumes remain largely unknown. In this study, three SPX members, PvSPX1–PvSPX3 were cloned from common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). It was found that the transcripts of all three PvSPX members were significantly enhanced in both bean leaves and roots by phosphate (Pi) starvation. Among them, the expression of nuclear localized PvSPX1 showed more sensitive and rapid responses to Pi starvation. Consistently, only overexpression of PvSPX1 resulted in increased root P concentration and modified morphology of transgenic bean hairy roots, such as inhibited root growth and an enlarged root hair zone. It was further demonstrated that PvSPX1 transcripts were up-regulated by overexpressing PvPHR1, and overexpressing PvSPX1 led to increased transcripts of 10 Pi starvation-responsive genes in transgenic bean hairy roots. Taken together, it is suggested that PvSPX1 is a positive regulator in the P signalling network of common bean, and is downstream of PvPHR1.