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 Maelstroms in the heart
22.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation

nachricht Decoding the structure of the huntingtin protein
22.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Decoding the structure of the huntingtin protein

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Camera technology in vehicles: Low-latency image data compression

22.02.2018 | Information Technology

Minimising risks of transplants

22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>