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P-type ATPase heavy metal transporters with roles in essential zinc homeostasis in Arabidopsis

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Published copy (DOI)


  • Dawar Hussain
  • Michael J Haydon
  • Yuwen Wang
  • Edwin Wong
  • Sarah M Sherson
  • Jeff Young
  • James Camakaris
  • Jeffrey F Harper
  • Christopher S Cobbett


Publication details

JournalThe Plant Cell
DatePublished - May 2004
Issue number5
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)1327-39
Original languageEnglish


Arabidopsis thaliana has eight genes encoding members of the type 1(B) heavy metal-transporting subfamily of the P-type ATPases. Three of these transporters, HMA2, HMA3, and HMA4, are closely related to each other and are most similar in sequence to the divalent heavy metal cation transporters of prokaryotes. To determine the function of these transporters in metal homeostasis, we have identified and characterized mutants affected in each. Whereas the individual mutants exhibited no apparent phenotype, hma2 hma4 double mutants had a nutritional deficiency phenotype that could be compensated for by increasing the level of Zn, but not Cu or Co, in the growth medium. Levels of Zn, but not other essential elements, in the shoot tissues of a hma2 hma4 double mutant and, to a lesser extent, of a hma4 single mutant were decreased compared with the wild type. Together, these observations indicate a primary role for HMA2 and HMA4 in essential Zn homeostasis. HMA2promoter- and HMA4promoter-reporter gene constructs provide evidence that HMA2 and HMA4 expression is predominantly in the vascular tissues of roots, stems, and leaves. In addition, expression of the genes in developing anthers was confirmed by RT-PCR and was consistent with a male-sterile phenotype in the double mutant. HMA2 appears to be localized to the plasma membrane, as indicated by protein gel blot analysis of membrane fractions using isoform-specific antibodies and by the visualization of an HMA2-green fluorescent protein fusion by confocal microscopy. These observations are consistent with a role for HMA2 and HMA4 in Zn translocation. hma2 and hma4 mutations both conferred increased sensitivity to Cd in a phytochelatin-deficient mutant background, suggesting that they may also influence Cd detoxification.

    Research areas

  • Flowers, Arabidopsis Proteins, Plants, Genetically Modified, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Amino Acid Sequence, Homeostasis, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Cation Transport Proteins, RNA, Messenger, Genotype, Phenotype, Base Sequence, Luminescent Proteins, Zinc, Molecular Sequence Data, Arabidopsis, Adenosine Triphosphatases

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