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Planta. 2013 Jan;237(1):65-75. doi: 10.1007/s00425-012-1757-0. Epub 2012 Sep 15.

Shoot to root communication is necessary to control the expression of iron-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, 14014 Córdoba, Spain.


Previous research showed that auxin, ethylene, and nitric oxide (NO) can activate the expression of iron (Fe)-acquisition genes in the roots of Strategy I plants grown with low levels of Fe, but not in plants grown with high levels of Fe. However, it is still an open question as to how Fe acts as an inhibitor and which pool of Fe (e.g., root, phloem, etc.) in the plant acts as the key regulator for gene expression control. To further clarify this, we studied the effect of the foliar application of Fe on the expression of Fe-acquisition genes in several Strategy I plants, including wild-type cultivars of Arabidopsis [Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh], pea [Pisum sativum L.], tomato [Solanum lycopersicon Mill.], and cucumber [Cucumis sativus L.], as well as mutants showing constitutive expression of Fe-acquisition genes when grown under Fe-sufficient conditions [Arabidopsis opt3-2 and frd3-3, pea dgl and brz, and tomato chln (chloronerva)]. The results showed that the foliar application of Fe blocked the expression of Fe-acquisition genes in the wild-type cultivars and in the frd3-3, brz, and chln mutants, but not in the opt3-2 and dgl mutants, probably affected in the transport of a Fe-related repressive signal in the phloem. Moreover, the addition of either ACC (ethylene precursor) or GSNO (NO donor) to Fe-deficient plants up-regulated the expression of Fe-acquisition genes, but this effect did not occur in Fe-deficient plants sprayed with foliar Fe, again suggesting the existence of a Fe-related repressive signal moving from leaves to roots.

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