Navigation Links
Metal homeostasis research in plants will lead to nutrient-rich food and higher yielding crops

Deficiencies of micronutrients such as Iron and Zinc commonly limit plant growth and crop yields. Dartmouth Professor Mary Lou Guerinot is conducting research to better understand the mechanisms of micronutrient uptake, distribution and regulation.

Guerinot's findings are making it feasible to engineer nutrient-rich plants better able to grow in soils now considered marginal and to increase crop biomass in soils now in cultivation. Guerinot presented her findings 2 p.m. today (Wednesday, August 7) at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) in the Hynes Convention Center, Boston.

Most people rely on plants for their dietary source of micronutrients. Therefore, plants engineered to be better sources of essential elements would offer humans improved nutrition. For example, over three billion people worldwide suffer from Iron and/or Zinc deficiencies. Food consumption studies suggest that doubling the Iron in rice can increase the Iron intake of the poor by 50 percent. Rice is a staple food in many of the countries with widespread Iron deficiencies in human diets.

Guerinot's lab has previously identified the essential Iron transporter responsible for Iron uptake from the soil. This Iron transporter is IRT1. In addition to transporting iron, IRT1 can also transport Manganese, Zinc, Cobalt and Cadmium. Thus, any attempts to increase Iron uptake via IRT1 must consider the transport of unwanted substrates such as Cadmium.

Industrial, mining, and agricultural activities, particularly the excessive use of phosphate fertilizers, have led to high levels of Cadmium contamination at many locations worldwide. Utilizing DNA shuffling and heterologous expression in yeast, Guerinot and her colleagues isolated alleles of IRT1 that no longer facilitate the accumulation of Cadmium yet retain the crucial ability to transport Iron. When the engineered IRT1 alleles are expressed in plants that no longer express a wild t ype copy of IRT1, the engineered allele allows these plants to take up iron and renders them resistant to Cadmium. Transgenic seedlings have Cadmium levels similar to that of IRT1 loss of function plants, demonstrating that Cadmium transport through IRT1 has been eliminated. Furthermore, these plants have twice as much Iron as wild type plants when grown in the presence of Cadmium.

While the ability to quantify the amount of particular metals present in various plant tissues has proved very informative, Guerinot said she and her colleagues would also like to be able to see where the metals are distributed within various plant organs.

"We have used X-ray fluorescence microtomography to determine, in vivo, the spatial distribution of metals in Arabidopsis seed. Examination of various mutants is shedding light on which transporters influence the distribution of important nutrients such as Iron in the seed. Such information should aid the development of nutrient-rich seed, beneficially affecting human nutrition and health. This research should also lead to agronomic benefits such as increased seedling vigor, higher crop yields and resistance to disease," Guerinot said.


'"/>

Source:American Society of Plant Biologists


Related biology news :

1. Metal-containing compounds show promise as HIV weapon
2. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
3. U of M researcher examines newly emerging deadly disease
4. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
5. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
6. New research questions basic tenet of neuron function
7. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
8. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
9. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
10. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
11. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data ... precision engineering platform, detected a statistically significant ... product prior to treatment and objective response ... the potential to predict whether cancer patients ... to treatment, as well as to improve ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... the health IT company that operates the largest health ... today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross BlueShield ... investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create the ... activities through the collection and workflow integration of ambient ... secures data today on behalf of over 36 million ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... Vehicle Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled a ... new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new markets ... It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... Center’s FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the ... for Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change ...
Breaking Biology Technology: