Mechanism of zinc deficiency resistance inherent to plants is partially revealed

January 30, 2020

Plants acquire zinc deficiency resistance by degrading themselves

A group of researchers from Meiji University, the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE), Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Nippon Dental University, and RIKEN CSRS have found that plants use autophagy, a system of cell autolysis, to increase the efficiency of recycling zinc (Zn) in vivo under Zn deficient environment.

Autophagy activity increases under Zn deficient environment, and cells' own components such as cellular proteins and organelles are degraded. The researchers found that Zn bound to proteins or accumulated in organelles was taken out as free Zn2+ ion as a result of this degradation, and resupplied to places where it is needed. By analyzing Zn deficiency symptoms in autophagy defective mutant plants, it was also demonstrated that the mechanism of improving Zn recycling efficiency is important in suppressing Zn deficiency symptoms (chlorosis) in plants.

These findings may contribute to developing varieties resistant to zinc deficiency and crops with high zinc content.

Original article
Plant Physiology doi:10.1104/pp.19.01522
D. Shinozaki, E. A Merkulova, L. Naya, T. Horie, Y. Kanno, M. Seo, Y. Ohsumi, C. M. Daubresse, K. Yoshimoto,
"Autophagy Increases Zinc Bioavailability to Avoid Light-Mediated ROS Production under Zn Deficiency".
Mitsunori Seo
Unit Leader
Dormancy and Adaptation Research Unit