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Plant Cell. 2001 Dec;13(12):2761-75.

A novel family of magnesium transport genes in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Magnesium (Mg(2+)) is the most abundant divalent cation in plant cells and plays a critical role in many physiological processes. We describe the identification of a 10-member Arabidopsis gene family (AtMGT) encoding putative Mg(2+) transport proteins. Most members of the AtMGT family are expressed in a range of Arabidopsis tissues. One member of this family, AtMGT1, functionally complemented a bacterial mutant lacking Mg(2+) transport capability. A second member, AtMGT10, complemented a yeast mutant defective in Mg(2+) uptake and increased the cellular Mg(2+) content of starved cells threefold during a 60-min uptake period. (63)Ni tracer studies in bacteria showed that AtMGT1 has highest affinity for Mg(2+) but may also be capable of transporting several other divalent cations, including Ni(2+), Co(2+), Fe(2+), Mn(2+), and Cu(2+). However, the concentrations required for transport of these other cations are beyond normal physiological ranges. Both AtMGT1 and AtMGT10 are highly sensitive to Al(3+) inhibition, providing potential molecular targets for Al(3+) toxicity in plants. Using green fluorescence protein as a reporter, we localized AtMGT1 protein to the plasma membrane in Arabidopsis plants. We suggest that the AtMGT gene family encodes a Mg(2+) transport system in higher plants.

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