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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2011 May;49(5):537-44. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2011.01.019. Epub 2011 Jan 21.

A new model involving ethylene, nitric oxide and Fe to explain the regulation of Fe-acquisition genes in Strategy I plants.

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Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology, Edificio Celestino Mutis (C-4), Campus de Rabanales, University of Córdoba, 14071-Córdoba, Spain.


In previous work it has been shown that both ethylene and NO (nitric oxide) participate in a similar way in the up-regulation of several Fe-acquisition genes of Arabidopsis and other Strategy I plants. This raises the question as to whether NO acts through ethylene or ethylene acts through NO, or whether both act in conjunction. One possibility is that NO could increase ethylene production. Conversely, ethylene could increase NO production. By using Arabidopsis and cucumber plants, we have found that both possibilities occur: NO greatly induces the expression in roots of genes involved in ethylene synthesis: AtSAM1, AtSAM2, AtACS4, AtACS6, AtACO1, AtACO2, AtMTK; CsACS2 and CsACO2; on the other hand, ethylene greatly enhances NO production in the subapical region of the roots. These results suggest that each substance influences the production of the other and that both substances could be necessary for up-regulation of Fe-acquisition genes. This has been further confirmed in experiments with simultaneous application of the NO donor GSNO (S-nitrosoglutathione) and ethylene inhibitors; or with simultaneous application of the ethylene precursor ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid) and an NO scavenger. Both GSNO and ACC enhanced ferric reductase activity in control plants, but not in those plants simultaneously treated with the ethylene inhibitors or the NO scavenger, respectively. To explain all these results and previous ones we have proposed a new model involving ethylene, NO, and Fe in the up-regulation of Fe-acquisition genes of Strategy I plants.

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