Phosphate (Pi) is an essential mineral nutrient for plant growth and development. As sessile multicellular organisms, plants often encounter Pi deficiency in the rhizosphere and must respond to Pi starvation through adjustments in their growth and development and in metabolic activities. Although the adaptive responses have been widely studied and well documented in a variety of plant species, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The ultimate goal of my research will be to elucidate the molecular mechanisms in which plants sense changes in Pi levels and transmit the signal locally as well as systemically. A thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms of Pi starvation responses will also provide us with novel tools for efficiently engineering crops with improved efficiency of phosphorus usage.