MicroRNA399-mediated regulation of the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBC24/PHOSPHATE2 (PHO2) is crucial for Pi acquisition and translocation in plants. Because of a potential role for PHO2 in protein degradation and its association with membranes, an iTRAQ (for isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation)- based quantitative membrane proteomic method was employed to search for components downstream of PHO2. A total of 7491 proteins were identified from Arabidopsis thaliana roots by mass spectrometry, 35.2% of which were predicted to contain at least one transmembrane helix. Among the quantifiable proteins, five were significantly differentially expressed between the wild type and pho2 mutant under two growth conditions. Using immunoblot analysis, we validated the upregulation of several members in PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER1 (PHT1) family and PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER TRAFFIC FACILITATOR1 (PHF1) in pho2 and demonstrated that PHO2 mediates the degradation of PHT1 proteins. Genetic evidence that loss of PHF1 or PHT1;1 alleviated Pi toxicity in pho2 further suggests that they play roles as downstream components of PHO2. Moreover, we showed that PHO2 interacts with PHT1s in the postendoplasmic reticulum compartments and mediates the ubiquitination of endomembrane-localized PHT1;1. This study not only uncovers a mechanism by which PHO2 modulates Pi acquisition by regulating the abundance of PHT1s in the secretory pathway destined for plasma membranes, but also provides a database of the membrane proteome that will be widely applicable in root biology research
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