Journal Article

Comparative physiology of elemental distributions in plants

Simon Conn and Matthew Gilliham

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 7, pages 1081-1102
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq027
Comparative physiology of elemental distributions in plants

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

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Background

Plants contain relatively few cell types, each contributing a specialized role in shaping plant function. With respect to plant nutrition, different cell types accumulate certain elements in varying amounts within their storage vacuole. The role and mechanisms underlying cell-specific distribution of elements in plants is poorly understood.

Scope

The phenomenon of cell-specific elemental accumulation has been briefly reviewed previously, but recent technological advances with the potential to probe mechanisms underlying elemental compartmentation have warranted an updated evaluation. We have taken this opportunity to catalogue many of the studies, and techniques used for, recording cell-specific compartmentation of particular elements. More importantly, we use three case-study elements (Ca, Cd and Na) to highlight the basis of such phenomena in terms of their physiological implications and underpinning mechanisms; we also link such distributions to the expression of known ion or solute transporters.

Conclusions

Element accumulation patterns are clearly defined by expression of key ion or solute transporters. Although the location of element accumulation is fairly robust, alterations in expression of certain solute transporters, through genetic modifications or by growth under stress, result in perturbations to these patterns. However, redundancy or induced pleiotropic expression effects may complicate attempts to characterize the pathways that lead to cell-specific elemental distribution. Accumulation of one element often has consequences on the accumulation of others, which seems to be driven largely to maintain vacuolar and cytoplasmic osmolarity and charge balance, and also serves as a detoxification mechanism. Altered cell-specific transcriptomics can be shown, in part, to explain some of this compensation.

Keywords: Cell-specific; element; vacuole; transcriptome; ionome; plant nutrition; nutrient storage

Journal Article.  17371 words.  Illustrated.

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

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