Table_1_MRP Transporters and Low Phytic Acid Mutants in Major Crops: Main Pleiotropic Effects and Future Perspectives.docx
Phytic acid (PA) represents the major storage form of seed phosphate (P). During seed maturation, it accumulates as phytate salts chelating various mineral cations, therefore reducing their bioavailability. During germination, phytase dephosphorylates PA releasing both P and cations which in turn can be used for the nutrition of the growing seedling. Animals do not possess phytase, thus monogastric animals assimilate only 10% of the phytate ingested with feed, whilst 90% is excreted and may contribute to cause P pollution of the environment. To overcome this double problem, nutritional and environmental, in the last four decades, many low phytic acid (lpa) mutants (most of which affect the PA-MRP transporters) have been isolated and characterized in all major crops, showing that the lpa trait can increase the nutritional quality of foods and feeds and improve P management in agriculture. Nevertheless, these mutations are frequently accompanied by negative pleiotropic effects leading to agronomic defects which may affect either seed viability and germination or plant development or in some cases even increase the resistance to cooking, thus limiting the interest of breeders. Therefore, although some significant results have been reached, the isolation of lpa mutants improved for their nutritional quality and with a good field performance remains a goal so far not fully achieved for many crops. Here, we will summarize the main pleiotropic effects that have been reported to date in lpa mutants affected in PA-MRP transporters in five productive agronomic species, as well as addressing some of the possible challenges to overcome these hurdles and improve the breeding efforts for lpa mutants.