FRO2 (At1g01580) codes for an NADPH-dependent ferric reductase in plasma membranes of root epidermal cells with a demonstrated role in iron uptake by plants. Ferric reductase activity has been shown to be the rate-limiting step for iron uptake in strategy I plants like Arabidopsis and in rice, but it has been unclear whether FRO genes have other physiological functions. We hypothesized that FRO2 was involved in chilling stress tolerance because its expression was upregulated by treatment of plants with glycine betaine (GB), a chemical that prevents reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling in chilling stress. This idea was confirmed by showing that the FRO2 null mutant frd1-1 failed to respond to GB in chilling assays either in relation to root growth recovery or inhibition of ROS accumulation. Measurements of ferric reductase activity in wild-type plants treated with GB before chilling showed no significant GB effect compared with controls. In addition, 35S-FRO2 transgenics with elevated mRNA levels did not have improved chilling tolerance. However, ferric reductase activity in wild-type plants or 35S-FRO2 transgenics pretreated with GB was several-fold higher after chilling compared with non-pretreated controls. These experiments identify a new physiological function for FRO2, i.e. blocking ROS accumulation during chilling. They also suggest that GB has a major effect on FRO2 activity posttranscriptionally in the cold.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology