Research Topic

Metal Transport in Plants

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About this Research Topic

Plants must acquire the essential elements mainly from rhizosphere by their roots to survive. 17 elements are particularly relevant: nitrate, phosphate, potassium, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, boron, zinc, molybdenum, copper, chloride and nickel. Both shortage and ...

Plants must acquire the essential elements mainly from rhizosphere by their roots to survive. 17 elements are particularly relevant: nitrate, phosphate, potassium, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, boron, zinc, molybdenum, copper, chloride and nickel. Both shortage and excess of these elements lead to impaired growth, which is often reflected as yield loss in agriculture. Plants have developed sophisticated and tightly regulated mechanisms for uptake and translocation of the essential elements. In parallel, plants also take up harmful elements such as cadmium and arsenic. Recent works have shown that molecular regulatory pathways to maintain homeostasis of the essential elements are finely regulated in a dynamic crosstalk network. Moreover, harmful elements are taken up through the same pathways than the essential elements.

Plants produce metal chelators, such as mugineic acid family phytosiderophores (MAs) and nicotianamine (NA). MAs have been first identified as iron chelators which are secreted by plant roots into the rhizosphere to mobilize low-soluble ferric iron. NA was found as the iron chelator which is involved in iron translocation in plant bodies. However, further research showed that both MAs and NA have the ability to chelate not only iron but also other metal nutrients such as zinc, manganese and copper, and are involved in the homeostasis of these metal nutrients. In addition, it has been shown that manipulation of NA production affects uptake and translocation of the harmful element cadmium. The uptake and translocation of the essential nutrients are regulated by specific transporter proteins. Therefore, the link between the essential nutrients suggests that transport system must overlap.

How elements are interacting with each other during acquisition and translocation is still poorly understood, although its relevancy in determining yield quality and quantity in agriculture. In this Research Topic, we aim to cover essential nutrient homeostasis in plants, including, but not limited to their transport, translocation and interaction with each other. We welcome contributions as Original Research and Review articles.


Keywords: Essential Elements, Mugineic Acid Family Phytosiderophores, Nicotianamine, Metal, Transporters


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