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Plant Cell. 2009 Sep;21(9):2878-83. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.069831. Epub 2009 Sep 4.

A transporter at the node responsible for intervascular transfer of silicon in rice.

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Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Kurashiki, Japan.


The concentration of essential mineral nutrients in the edible portion of plants such as grains may affect the nutritional value of these foods, while concentrations of toxic minerals in the plant are matter of food safety. Minerals taken up by the roots from soils are normally redirected at plant nodes before they are finally transported into developing seeds. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process have not been identified so far. Herein, we report on a transporter (Lsi6) responsible for the redirection of a plant nutrient at the node. Lsi6 is a silicon transporter in rice (Oryza sativa), and its expression in node I below the panicles is greatly enhanced when the panicle is completely emerged. Lsi6 is mainly localized at the xylem transfer cells located at the outer boundary region of the enlarged large vascular bundles in node I. Knockout of Lsi6 decreased Si accumulation in the panicles but increased Si accumulation in the flag leaf. These results suggest that Lsi6 is a transporter involved in intervascular transfer (i.e., transfer of silicon from the large vascular bundles coming from the roots to the diffuse vascular bundles connected to the panicles). These findings will be useful for selectively enhancing the accumulation of essential nutrients and reducing toxic minerals in the edible portion of cereals.

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