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Metal nicotianamine transporter MtYSL3 delivers iron and zinc for nitrogen fixation

The massive use of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture is responsible of feeding half of the world population. However, they are an important source of greenhouse gasses, one of the main expenses for farmers (unreacheable in many developing countries), and contribute to water eutrophyzation. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) carried out by the rhizobia-legume interaction is one of the main alternatives to the overuse of these fertilizers, in a return to more sustainable practices of crop rotation with legumes. This process requires of relatively large amount of transition metals (iron, copper, zinc,…) that work as cofactors of many of the main enzymes participating in SNF. Given the prevalent low bioavailability of these metals in many of the main agricultural areas of the world, the real impact of crop rotation with legumes in soil nitrogen fertilization will depend in ensuring a continous and suficient delivery of essential transition metals. To improve this, we need to identify and manipulate the molecules mediating the delivery of these nutrients.

The CBGP group “Metal homeostasis in plant-microbe interactions”, in collaboration with researchers from Spain (ICA-CSIC, EEAD-CSIC), USA (Noble Reseach Institute and WPI), and Czech Republic (Biologické centrum AV ČR), has shown how ferroportin MtFPN2 participates in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Embedded in the plasma membrane, MtYSL3 delivers iron and zinc to the nodules. Mutations in this transporter result in altered iron and zinc distribution, and a loss of nitrogen fixation capabilities.

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Original Paper:

Castro-Rodríguez, R., Abreu, I., Reguera, M., Novoa-Aponte, L., Mijovilovich, A., Escudero, V., Jiménez-Pastor, F.J., Abadía, J., Wen, J., Mysore, K.S., Álvarez-Fernández, A., Küpper, H., Imperial, J., González-Guerrero, M. 2020. Medicago truncatula Yellow Stripe1-Like3 gene is involved in vascular delivery of transition metals to root nodules. Journal of Experimental Botany. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eraa390

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