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Plant Physiol. 2006 Apr;140(4):1345-54. Epub 2006 Feb 17.

Light-regulated, tissue-specific, and cell differentiation-specific expression of the Arabidopsis Fe(III)-chelate reductase gene AtFRO6.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, 100101.


Iron is an essential element for almost all living organisms, actively involved in a variety of cellular activities. To acquire iron from soil, strategy I plants such as Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) must first reduce ferric to ferrous iron by Fe(III)-chelate reductases (FROs). FRO genes display distinctive expression patterns in several plant species. However, regulation of FRO genes is not well understood. Here, we report a systematic characterization of the AtFRO6 expression during plant growth and development. AtFRO6, encoding a putative FRO, is specifically expressed in green-aerial tissues in a light-dependent manner. Analysis of mutant promoter-beta-glucuronidase reporter genes in transgenic Arabidopsis plants revealed the presence of multiple light-responsive elements in the AtFRO6 promoter. These light-responsive elements may act synergistically to confer light responsiveness to the AtFRO6 promoter. Moreover, no AtFRO6 expression was detected in dedifferentiated green calli of the korrigan1-2 (kor1-2) mutant or undifferentiated calli derived from wild-type explants. Conversely, AtFRO6 is expressed in redifferentiated kor1-2 shoot-like structures and differentiating calli of wild-type explants. In addition, AtFRO7, but not AtFRO5 and AtFRO8, also shows a reduced expression level in kor1-2 green calli. These results suggest that whereas photosynthesis is necessary but not sufficient, both light and cell differentiation are necessary for AtFRO6 expression. We propose that AtFRO6 expression is light regulated in a tissue- or cell differentiation-specific manner to facilitate the acquisition of iron in response to distinctive developmental cues.

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