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Transporters of ligands for essential metal ions in plants

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Publication details

JournalNew Phytologist
DatePublished - 2007
Issue number3
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)499-506
Original languageEnglish


Essential metals are required for healthy plant growth but can be toxic when present in excess. Therefore plants have mechanisms of metal homeostasis which involve coordination of metal ion transporters for uptake, translocation and compartmentalization. However, very little metal in plants is thought to exist as free ions. A number of small, organic molecules have been implicated in metal ion homeostasis as metal ion ligands to facilitate uptake and transport of metal ions with low solubility and also as chelators implicated in sequestration for metal tolerance and storage. Ligands for a number of essential metals have been identified and proteins involved in the transport of these ligands and of metal-ligand complexes have been characterized. Here we review recent advances in understanding the role of mugineic acid, nicotianamine, organic acids (citrate and malate), histidine and phytate as ligands for iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn) and nickel (Ni) in plants, and the proteins identified as their transporters.

    Research areas

  • Metals, Carrier Proteins, Plants, Biological Transport, Plant Proteins, Ligands

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