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Garcia-Molina, Antoni, Lehmann, Martin, Schneider, Katja, Klingl, Andreas and Leister, Dario (2021): Inactivation of cytosolic FUMARASE2 enhances growth and photosynthesis under simultaneous copper and iron deprivation in Arabidopsis. In: Plant Journal, Vol. 106, No. 3: pp. 766-784

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Copper (Cu) and iron (Fe) are essential for plant growth and are often in short supply under natural conditions. Molecular responses to simultaneous lack of both metals (-Cu-Fe) differ from those seen in the absence of either alone. Metabolome profiling of plant leaves previously revealed that fumarate levels fall under -Cu-Fe conditions. We employed lines lacking cytosolic FUMARASE2 (FUM2) activity to study the impact of constitutive suppression of cytosolic fumarate synthesis on plant growth under Cu and/or Fe deficiency. In fum2 mutants, photosynthesis and growth were less impaired under -Cu-Fe conditions than in wild-type (WT) seedlings. In particular, levels of photosynthetic proteins, chloroplast ultrastructure, amino acid profiles and redox state were less perturbed by simultaneous Cu-Fe deficiency in lines that cannot produce fumarate in the cytosol. Although cytosolic fumarate has been reported to promote acclimation of photosynthesis to low temperatures when metal supplies are adequate, the photosynthetic efficiency of fum2 lines grown under Cu-Fe deficiency in the cold was higher than in WT. Uptake and contents of Cu and Fe are similar in WT and fum2 plants under control and -Cu-Fe conditions, and lack of FUM2 does not alter the ability to sense metal deficiency, as indicated by marker gene expression. Collectively, we propose that reduced levels of cytosolic fumarate synthesis ultimately increase the availability of Fe for incorporation into metalloproteins.

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