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Maize yellow stripe1 encodes a membrane protein directly involved in Fe(III) uptake


Frequently, crop plants do not take up adequate amounts of iron from the soil, leading to chlorosis, poor yield and decreased nutritional quality. Extremely limited soil bioavailability of iron has led plants to evolve two distinct uptake strategies: chelation, which is used by the world's principal grain crops1,2; and reduction, which is used by other plant groups3,4,5. The chelation strategy involves extrusion of low-molecular-mass secondary amino acids (mugineic acids) known as ‘phytosiderophores’, which chelate sparingly soluble iron6. The Fe(iii)-phytosiderophore complex is then taken up by an unknown transporter at the root surface7,8. The maize yellow stripe1 (ys1) mutant is deficient in Fe(iii)-phytosiderophore uptake7,8,9,10, therefore YS1 has been suggested to be the Fe(iii)-phytosiderophore transporter. Here we show that ys1 is a membrane protein that mediates iron uptake. Expression of YS1 in a yeast iron uptake mutant restores growth specifically on Fe(iii)-phytosiderophore media. Under iron-deficient conditions, ys1 messenger RNA levels increase in both roots and shoots. Cloning of ys1 is an important step in understanding iron uptake in grasses, and has implications for mechanisms controlling iron homeostasis in all plants.

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Figure 1: The Ac-induced yellow stripe mutation.
Figure 2: ys1 sequence analysis.
Figure 3: Growth test in the yeast iron uptake mutant.
Figure 4: Regulation of ys1 mRNA levels by iron availability in young maize plantlets.

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We are indebted to S. Kawai for the gift of mugineic acid and to M. L. Guerinot for the gift of IRT1 cDNA. This work was supported by a USDA NRICGP Plant Responses to the Environment Award to ELW and an NIH Award to SLD.

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Correspondence to Elsbeth L. Walker.

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Curie, C., Panaviene, Z., Loulergue, C. et al. Maize yellow stripe1 encodes a membrane protein directly involved in Fe(III) uptake. Nature 409, 346–349 (2001).

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