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Copper and ectopic expression of the Arabidopsis transport protein COPT1 alter iron homeostasis in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Andrés-Bordería, Amparo, Andrés, Fernando, Garcia-Molina, Antoni, Perea-García, Ana, Domingo, Concha, Puig, Sergi, Peñarrubia, Lola
Plant molecular biology 2017 v.95 no.1-2 pp. 17-32
Arabidopsis, Oryza sativa, copper, crops, culture media, ferritin, gene expression, gene expression regulation, homeostasis, iron, messenger RNA, nicotianamine synthase, nutrient content, nutrient deficiencies, rice, seedlings, soil, transcription (genetics), transport proteins
KEY MESSAGE: Copper deficiency and excess differentially affect iron homeostasis in rice and overexpression of the Arabidopsis high-affinity copper transporter COPT1 slightly increases endogenous iron concentration in rice grains. Higher plants have developed sophisticated mechanisms to efficiently acquire and use micronutrients such as copper and iron. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction between both metals remain poorly understood. In the present work, we study the effects produced on iron homeostasis by a wide range of copper concentrations in the growth media and by altered copper transport in Oryza sativa plants. Gene expression profiles in rice seedlings grown under copper excess show an altered expression of genes involved in iron homeostasis compared to standard control conditions. Thus, ferritin OsFER2 and ferredoxin OsFd1 mRNAs are down-regulated whereas the transcriptional iron regulator OsIRO2 and the nicotianamine synthase OsNAS2 mRNAs rise under copper excess. As expected, the expression of OsCOPT1, which encodes a high-affinity copper transport protein, as well as other copper-deficiency markers are down-regulated by copper. Furthermore, we show that Arabidopsis COPT1 overexpression (C1 ᴼᴱ) in rice causes root shortening in high copper conditions and under iron deficiency. C1 ᴼᴱ rice plants modify the expression of the putative iron-sensing factors OsHRZ1 and OsHRZ2 and enhance the expression of OsIRO2 under copper excess, which suggests a role of copper transport in iron signaling. Importantly, the C1 ᴼᴱ rice plants grown on soil contain higher endogenous iron concentration than wild-type plants in both brown and white grains. Collectively, these results highlight the effects of rice copper status on iron homeostasis, which should be considered to obtain crops with optimized nutrient concentrations in edible parts.