Journal Article

New insights into ferritin synthesis and function highlight a link between iron homeostasis and oxidative stress in plants

Jean-Francois Briat, Karl Ravet, Nicolas Arnaud, Céline Duc, Jossia Boucherez, Brigitte Touraine, Francoise Cellier and Frederic Gaymard

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 5, pages 811-822
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp128
New insights into ferritin synthesis and function highlight a link between iron homeostasis and oxidative stress in plants

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background

Iron is an essential element for both plant productivity and nutritional quality. Improving plant iron content was attempted through genetic engineering of plants overexpressing ferritins. However, both the roles of these proteins in plant physiology, and the mechanisms involved in the regulation of their expression are largely unknown. Although the structure of ferritins is highly conserved between plants and animals, their cellular localization differs. Furthermore, regulation of ferritin gene expression in response to iron excess occurs at the transcriptional level in plants, in contrast to animals which regulate ferritin expression at the translational level.

Scope

In this review, an overview of our knowledge of bacterial and mammalian ferritin synthesis and functions is presented. Then the following will be reviewed: (a) the specific features of plant ferritins; (b) the regulation of their synthesis during development and in response to various environmental cues; and (c) their function in plant physiology, with special emphasis on the role that both bacterial and plant ferritins play during plant–bacteria interactions. Arabidopsis ferritins are encoded by a small nuclear gene family of four members which are differentially expressed. Recent results obtained by using this model plant enabled progress to be made in our understanding of the regulation of the synthesis and the in planta function of these various ferritins.

Conclusions

Studies on plant ferritin functions and regulation of their synthesis revealed strong links between these proteins and protection against oxidative stress. In contrast, their putative iron-storage function to furnish iron during various development processes is unlikely to be essential. Ferritins, by buffering iron, exert a fine tuning of the quantity of metal required for metabolic purposes, and help plants to cope with adverse situations, the deleterious effects of which would be amplified if no system had evolved to take care of free reactive iron.

Keywords: Iron; bacterioferritins; ferritins; oxidative stress; iron storage; seeds; pathogens; nutrition

Journal Article.  9958 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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