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Planta. 2007 Dec;227(1):81-9. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

Long-distance signals positively regulate the expression of iron uptake genes in tobacco roots.

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Biotechnology Sector, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, 1646 Abiko, Abiko-Shi, Japan.


Long-distance signals generated in shoots are thought to be associated with the regulation of iron uptake from roots; however, the signaling mechanism is still unknown. To elucidate whether the signal regulates iron uptake genes in roots positively or negatively, we analyzed the expressions of two representative iron uptake genes: NtIRT1 and NtFRO1 in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) roots, after shoots were manipulated in vitro. When iron-deficient leaves were treated with Fe(II)-EDTA, the expressions of both genes were significantly reduced; nevertheless iron concentration in the roots maintained a similar level to that in roots grown under iron-deficient conditions. Next, all leaves from tobacco plants grown under the iron-deficient condition were excised. The expression of two genes were quickly reduced below half within 2 h after the leaf excision and gradually disappeared by the end of a 24-h period. The NtIRT1 expression was compared among the plants whose leaves were cut off in various patterns. The expression increased in proportion to the dry weight of iron-deficient leaves, although no relation was observed between the gene expression and the position of excised leaves. Interestingly, the NtIRT1 expression in hairy roots increased under the iron-deficient condition, suggesting that roots also have the signaling mechanism of iron status as well as shoots. Taken together, these results indicate that the long-distance signal generated in iron-deficient tissues including roots is a major factor in positive regulation of the expression of NtIRT1 and NtFRO1 in roots, and that the strength of the signal depends on the size of plants.

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