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Vigani, Gianpiero; Bashir, Khurram; Ishimaru, Yasuhiro; Lehmann, Martin; Casiraghi, Fabio Marco; Nakanishi, Hiromi; Seki, Motoaki; Geigenberger, Peter; Zocchi, Graziano; Nishizawa, Naoko K. (2016): Knocking down mitochondrial iron transporter (MIT) reprograms primary and secondary metabolism in rice plants. In: Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 67, No. 5: pp. 1357-1368
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Abstract

Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for plant growth and development, and its reduced bioavailability strongly impairs mitochondrial functionality. In this work, the metabolic adjustment in the rice (Oryza sativa) mitochondrial Fe transporter knockdown mutant (mit-2) was analysed. Biochemical characterization of purified mitochondria from rice roots showed alteration in the respiratory chain of mit-2 compared with wild-type (WT) plants. In particular, proteins belonging to the type II alternative NAD(P) H dehydrogenases accumulated strongly in mit-2 plants, indicating that alternative pathways were activated to keep the respiratory chain working. Additionally, large-scale changes in the transcriptome and metabolome were observed in mit-2 rice plants. In particular, a strong alteration (up-/down-regulation) in the expression of genes encoding enzymes of both primary and secondary metabolism was found in mutant plants. This was reflected by changes in the metabolic profiles in both roots and shoots of mit-2 plants. Significant alterations in the levels of amino acids belonging to the aspartic acid-related pathways (aspartic acid, lysine, and threonine in roots, and aspartic acid and ornithine in shoots) were found that are strictly connected to the Krebs cycle. Furthermore, some metabolites (e.g. pyruvic acid, fumaric acid, ornithine, and oligosaccharides of the raffinose family) accumulated only in the shoot of mit-2 plants, indicating possible hypoxic responses. These findings suggest that the induction of local Fe deficiency in the mitochondrial compartment of mit-2 plants differentially affects the transcript as well as the metabolic profiles in root and shoot tissues.