Iron and copper are essential for plants and are important for the function of a number of protein complexes involved in photosynthesis and respiration. As the molecular mechanisms that control uptake, trafficking and storage of these nutrients emerge, the importance of metalloreductase-catalyzed reactions in iron and copper metabolism has become clear. This review focuses on the ferric reductase oxidase (FRO) family of metalloreductases in plants and highlights new insights into the roles of FRO family members in metal homeostasis. Arabidopsis FRO2 was first identified as the ferric chelate reductase that reduces ferric iron-chelates at the root surface-rhizosphere interface. The resulting ferrous iron is subsequently transported across the plasma membrane of root epidermal cells by the ferrous iron transporter, IRT1. Recent work has shown that two other members of the FRO family (FRO4 and FRO5) function redundantly to reduce copper to facilitate its uptake from the soil. In addition, FROs appear to play important roles in subcellular compartmentalization of iron as FRO7 is known to contribute to delivery of iron to chloroplasts while mitochondrial family members FRO3 and FRO8 are hypothesized to influence mitochondrial metal ion homeostasis. Finally, recent studies have underscored the importance of plasma membrane-localized ferric reductase activity in leaves for photosynthetic efficiency. Taken together, these studies highlight a number of diverse roles for FROs in both iron and copper metabolism in plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science