PHYLOGENETIC STUDY OF IRON DISTRIBUTION IN PLANT SEEDS
Ibeas, M.A.1, Grant-Grant, S.1, Vargas-Pérez, J.1, Coronas, M.F.1, Navarro, N1, Vidal, E.A.3, Perez, M.F.2 and Roschzttardtz, H.1
1Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
2Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile;
3Centro de Genómica y Bioinformática, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Mayor, Chile
Contact: Hannetz Roschzttardtz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nutrient reserves in the seed must be sufficient to sustain plant establishment until the root system has developed enough to provide nutrients from the soils. High nutrient content of seeds is particularly important for plants growing in unfavorable nutritional conditions and has been related to higher seed viability and seedling vigor. Besides its impact on plant growth, nutrient levels in seeds are an important consideration for human and/or livestock seed-based nutrition.
Iron is an essential micronutrient for plant growth and development. Despite its importance, the prevalent low iron bioavailability in the soils of main agricultural areas of the world limits plant productivity, fertility, and germination rates. As a consequence, iron contents in seeds is diminished which results in negative impacts in human and animal health, since seeds are a main source of food for humans and animals. In humans, iron deficiency in women and children under two years is a serious and growing public health problem and a major concern for the World Health Organization. Therefore, understanding seed iron distribution and storage at the physiological and molecular level is key to design biotechnological applications to improve iron content of staple seeds.
Our present knowledge on iron distribution in seeds is mostly limited to studies in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. It has been shown that iron has a particular pattern of accumulation in the vacuoles of the endodermis cell layer during Arabidopsis thaliana seed maturation. However, little is known about seed iron distribution in other plants, in particular in plants of agronomic interest. As a first step to unravel the mechanisms underlying iron distribution and storage in seeds, we are using a histochemical method for iron detection in plant tissues (Perls/DAB stain) to characterize seed iron distribution in different plant species. Our results suggest plants use different strategies for iron storage in seeds, which might have an impact on total iron content and seed physiology. To our knowledge, our work represents the first phylogenetic study of seed iron distribution in plants.