Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant studies reveal how, where seeds store iron

06.11.2006
Findings address worldwide iron deficiency and malnutrition

Biologists have learned where and how some plant seeds store iron, a valuable discovery for scientists working to improve the iron content of plants. Their research helps address the worldwide problem of iron deficiency and malnutrition in humans.

The team found that iron is stored in the developing vascular system of the seed of Arabidopsis, a model plant used in research. In particular, iron is stored in the vacuole, a plant cell's central storage site. The researchers also learned this localization depends on a protein called VIT1, known to transport iron into the vacuole.

"Iron deficiency is the most common human nutritional disorder in the world today, afflicting more than 3 billion people worldwide," said Mary Lou Guerinot, a biologist at Dartmouth College in N.H. and the principal investigator on the study. "Most of these people rely on plants for their dietary iron, but plants are not high in iron, and the limited availability of iron in the soil can limit plant growth. Our study suggests that iron storage in the vacuole is a promising, and, before now, largely unexplored target for increasing the iron content of seeds. Such nutrient-rich seeds would benefit both human health and agricultural productivity."

... more about:
»Seed »finding »stored »vacuole

The findings were published online in the Nov. 2, 2006, ScienceExpress, the advance publication site for the journal Science.

The researchers combined traditional mutant analysis (turning on and off the VIT1 protein) with a powerful X-ray imaging technique to create a map of where iron is localized in the seed. Guerinot was surprised by the finding because most studies on iron storage focus on another protein called ferritin.

"This project is a wonderful example of the power of using new combinations of tools--in this case, genetics and high-resolution 3-dimensional X-ray fluorescence imaging--to understand gene function," said Jane Silverthorne, a program director in NSF's Division of Biological Infrastructure, which funded the research. "The discovery that iron localizes in specific parts of a seed opens the possibility of developing seed crops such as grains and beans with increased content of this important nutrient."

The findings reveal how essential it is to look beyond ferritin to understand how iron is stored by plants. The researchers say the stored iron in the vacuole is a key source of iron for developing seedlings. Seedlings that do not express the VIT1 protein grow poorly when iron is limited.

In addition to funding from the National Science Foundation, the study was also supported by the National Institutes of Health. The imaging was carried out at the Department of Energy's National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Other authors of the paper include Sun A Kim and Tracy Punshon, both of Dartmouth, Antonio Lanzirotti of the University of Chicago, Liangtao Li and Jerry Kaplan of the University of Utah School of Medicine, José Alonso with North Carolina State University, and Joseph Ecker with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

Further reports about: Seed finding stored vacuole

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>