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Plant Physiol. 2003 Feb;131(2):595-602.

Zinc efficiency is correlated with enhanced expression and activity of zinc-requiring enzymes in wheat.

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United States Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.


Zinc (Zn) is an essential micronutrient for plants. The ability of plants to maintain significant yields under low Zn is termed Zn efficiency (ZE) and its genetic and mechanistic basis is still not well understood. Previously, we showed that root Zn uptake did not play a role in ZE. In the current study, Zn-efficient and -inefficient wheat (Triticum aestivum) genotypes were grown for 13 d in chelate buffer nutrient solutions at low (0.1 pM), sufficient (150 pM), and high (1 microM) Zn(2+) activities and analyzed for root-to-shoot translocation of Zn, subcellular leaf Zn distribution, and activity and expression of the Zn-requiring enzymes in leaves. No correlation between ZE and Zn translocation to the shoot was found. Furthermore, total and water-soluble concentrations of leaf Zn were not associated with ZE, and no differences in subcellular Zn compartmentation were found between Zn-efficient and -inefficient genotypes. However, the expression and activity of the Zn-requiring enzymes copper (Cu)/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) and carbonic anhydrase did correlate with differences in ZE. Northern analysis suggested that Cu/ZnSOD gene expression was up-regulated in the Zn-efficient genotype, Kirgiz, but not in inefficient BDME. Under Zn deficiency stress, the very Zn-efficient genotype Kirgiz and moderately Zn-efficient Dagdas exhibited an increased activity of Cu/ZnSOD and carbonic anhydrase when compared with Zn-inefficient BDME. These results suggest that Zn-efficient genotypes may be able to maintain the functioning of Zn-requiring enzymes under low Zn conditions; thus, biochemical Zn utilization may be an important component of ZE in wheat.

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