Journal Article

Identification of Maize Silicon Influx Transporters

Namiki Mitani, Naoki Yamaji and Jian Feng Ma

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 50, issue 1, pages 5-12
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online October 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Identification of Maize Silicon Influx Transporters

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Maize (Zea mays L.) shows a high accumulation of silicon (Si), but transporters involved in the uptake and distribution have not been identified. In the present study, we isolated two genes (ZmLsi1 and ZmLsi6), which are homologous to rice influx Si transporter OsLsi1. Heterologous expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes showed that both ZmLsi1 and ZmLsi6 are permeable to silicic acid. ZmLsi1 was mainly expressed in the roots. By contrast, ZmLsi6 was expressed more in the leaf sheaths and blades. Different from OsLsi1, the expression level of both ZmLsi1 and ZmLsi6 was unaffected by Si supply. Immunostaining showed that ZmLsi1 was localized on the plasma membrane of the distal side of root epidermal and hypodermal cells in the seminal and crown roots, and also in cortex cells in lateral roots. In the shoots, ZmLsi6 was found in the xylem parenchyma cells that are adjacent to the vessels in both leaf sheaths and leaf blades. ZmLsi6 in the leaf sheaths and blades also exhibited polar localization on the side facing towards the vessel. Taken together, it can be concluded that ZmLsi1 is an influx transporter of Si, which is responsible for the transport of Si from the external solution to the root cells and that ZmLsi6 mainly functions as a Si transporter for xylem unloading.

Keywords: Influx; Maize; NIP; Root; Silicon; Transporter

Journal Article.  4276 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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