Main content area

One “OMICS” to integrate them all: ionomics as a result of plant genetics, physiology and evolution

Pita-Barbosa, Alice, Ricachenevsky, Felipe Klein, Flis, Paulina Maria
Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology 2019 v.31 no.1 pp. 71-89
Arabidopsis thaliana, evolution, experimental design, genes, genomics, ionome, ionomics, models, mutants, plant genetics, plant physiology, rice
The ionome concept, which stands as the inorganic composition of an organism, was introduced 15 years ago. Since then, the ionomics approaches have identified several genes involved in key processes for regulating plants ionome, using different methods and experimental designs. Mutant collections and natural variation in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana have been central to the recent discoveries, which are now being the basis to move at a fast pace onto other models such as rice and non-model species, aided by easier, lower-cost of genomics. Ionomics and the study of the ionome also needs integrations of different fields in plant sciences such as plant physiology, genetics, nutrition and evolution, especially plant local adaptation, while relying on methods derived from chemistry to physics, and thus requiring interdisciplinary, versatile teams. Here we review the conceptualization of the ionome as an integrated way of viewing elemental accumulation, and provide examples that highlight the potential of these approaches to shed light onto how plants regulate the ionome. We also review the main methods used in multi-element quantification and visualization in plants. Finally, we indicate what are the likely next steps to move the ionomics field forward.