Rice is an important food crop, but it is a poor source of essential micronutrients such as iron and zinc. In order to improve the metal ion content of rice grains through breeding or biotechnology, more information is needed on the molecular players that help mobilize metals from leaves to developing seeds. To profile several genes simultaneously, a cDNA macroarray was developed using 36 metal-related genes from rice, including ZIPs, NRAMPs, and YSLs (coding for known or potential metal transporters), as well as NAS, FER, FRO, NAAT, FDH, GSTU, and PDR (involved in metal homeostasis). Because flag leaves are the major source of phloem-delivered photoassimilates and remobilized metals for developing seeds, we analyzed the expression of these metal-related genes in flag and non-flag leaves of four different rice cultivars (Cocodrie, Taipei 309, IR58, and IR68144) during the period of mid-grain fill. Genes (24 of 36) exhibited low to non-detectable signals in the macroarray, while 12 genes (OsIRT1, OsZIP1, OsZIP5, OsZIP8, OsYSL5, OsYSL6, OsYSL7, OsYSL8, OsYSL18, OsNRAMP2, OsNRAMP4 and OsNRAMP7) were found to be highly expressed in both flag and non-flag leaves of all four cultivars. Additional expression analysis using semi-quantitative or quantitative PCR provided results that were generally consistent with the macroarray, but semi-quantitative PCR confirmed that OsFDH, OsFER1, OsNAAT, OsNAS1, OsPDR9, OsYSL12, OsYSL13, OsZIP7, and OsZIP10 were also expressed in leaves. This specialized macroarray has provided a short list of potential candidate genes, expressed in leaves, which might contribute to the process of metal transport to distant sinks, such as seeds.
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (2007) 45 (5) 277-286 [doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2007.03.021]. Iron nutrition and Interactions in Plants, XIII International Symposium on Iron Nutrition and Interactions in Plants (ISINIP)