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Plant Cell. 2011 Jul;23(7):2725-37. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.088088. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

The FRD3 citrate effluxer promotes iron nutrition between symplastically disconnected tissues throughout Arabidopsis development.

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  • 1Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5004/Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique/SupAgro/Université Montpellier 2, F-34060 Montpellier Cedex 2, France.


We present data supporting a general role for FERRIC REDICTASE DEFECTIVE3 (FRD3), an efflux transporter of the efficient iron chelator citrate, in maintaining iron homeostasis throughout plant development. In addition to its well-known expression in root, we show that FRD3 is strongly expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana seed and flower. Consistently, frd3 loss-of-function mutants are defective in early germination and are almost completely sterile, both defects being rescued by iron and/or citrate supply. The frd3 fertility defect is caused by pollen abortion and is associated with the male gametophytic expression of FRD3. Iron imaging shows the presence of important deposits of iron on the surface of aborted pollen grains. This points to a role for FRD3 and citrate in proper iron nutrition of embryo and pollen. Based on the findings that iron acquisition in embryo, leaf, and pollen depends on FRD3, we propose that FRD3 mediated-citrate release in the apoplastic space represents an important process by which efficient iron nutrition is achieved between adjacent tissues lacking symplastic connections. These results reveal a physiological role for citrate in the apoplastic transport of iron throughout development, and provide a general model for multicellular organisms in the cell-to-cell transport of iron involving extracellular circulation.

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