Date of this Version
Front. Plant Sci. 5:112.
Iron is an important micronutrient in human and plant nutrition. Adequate iron nutrition during crop production is central for assuring appropriate iron concentrations in the harvestable organs, for human food or animal feed. The whole-plant movement of iron involves several processes, including the reduction of ferric to ferrous iron at several locations throughout the plant, prior to transmembrane trafficking of ferrous iron. In this study, soybean plants that constitutively expressed the AtFRO2 iron reductase gene were analyzed for leaf iron reductase activity, as well as the effect of this transgene's expression on root, leaf, pod wall, and seed mineral concentrations. High Fe Supply, in combination with the constitutive expression of AtFRO2, resulted in significantly higher concentrations of different minerals in roots (K, P, Zn, Ca, Ni, Mg, and Mo), pod walls (Fe, K, P, Cu, and Ni), leaves (Fe, P, Cu, Ca, Ni, and Mg) and seeds (Fe, Zn, Cu, and Ni). Leaf and pod wall iron concentrations increased as much as 500% in transgenic plants, while seed iron concentrations only increased by 10%, suggesting that factors other than leaf and pod wall reductase activity were limiting the translocation of iron to seeds. Protoplasts isolated from transgenic leaves had three-fold higher reductase activity than controls. Expression levels of the iron storage protein, ferritin, were higher in the transgenic leaves than in wild-type, suggesting that the excess iron may be stored as ferritin in the leaves and therefore unavailable for phloem loading and delivery to the seeds. Also, citrate and malate levels in the roots and leaves of transgenic plants were significantly higher than in wild-type, suggesting that organic acid production could be related to the icreased accumulation of minerals in roots, leaves, and pod walls, but not in the seeds. All together, these results suggest a more ubiquitous role for the iron reductase in whole-plant mineral accumulation and distribution.