Mutation in nicotianamine aminotransferase stimulated the Fe(II) acquisition system and led to iron accumulation in rice

Longjun Cheng, Fang Wang, Huixia Shou, Fangliang Huang, Luqing Zheng, Fei He, Jinhui Li, Fang Jie Zhao, Daisei Ueno, Ma Jian Feng, Ping Wu

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142 Citations (Scopus)


Higher plants acquire iron (Fe) from the rhizosphere through two strategies. Strategy II, employed by graminaceous plants, involves secretion of phytosiderophores (e.g. deoxymugineic acid in rice [Oryza sativa]) by roots to solubilize Fe(III) in soil. In addition to taking up Fe in the form of Fe(III)-phytosiderophore, rice also possesses the strategy I-like system that may absorb Fe(II) directly. Through mutant screening, we isolated a rice mutant that could not grow with Fe(III)-citrate as the sole Fe source, but was able to grow when Fe(II)-EDTA was supplied. Surprisingly, the mutant accumulated more Fe and other divalent metals in roots and shoots than the wild type when both were supplied with EDTA-Fe(II) or grown under waterlogged field conditions. Furthermore, the mutant had a significantly higher concentration of Fe in both unpolished and polished grains than the wild type. Using the map-based cloning method, we identified a point mutation in a gene encoding nicotianamine aminotransferase (NAAT1), which was responsible for the mutant phenotype. Because of the loss of function of NAAT1, the mutant failed to produce deoxymugineic acid and could not absorb Fe(III) efficiently. In contrast, nicotianamine, the substrate for NAAT1, accumulated markedly in roots and shoots of the mutant. Microarray analysis showed that the expression of a number of the genes involved in Fe(II) acquisition was greatly stimulated in the naat1 mutant. Our results demonstrate that disruption of deoxymugineic acid biosynthesis can stimulate Fe(II) acquisition and increase iron accumulation in rice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1647-1657
Number of pages11
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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