Cadmium (Cd) accumulation in rice grains is enhanced if ponded water is released from paddy fields during the reproductive stage (intermittent irrigation). The release of ponded water creates aerobic soil conditions under which Cd becomes soluble and iron (Fe) solubility decreases. We hypothesized that Fe shortage in rice induces Fe uptake and translocation and that Cd is also taken up and translocated throughout this process. Hydroponically cultured Fe-deficient rice absorbed more Cd than did Fe-sufficient rice, and the presence of Fe enhanced the translocation of Cd to the shoots. Yeast mutants expressing OsIRT1 and OsIRT1, which encode the rice Fe2+ transporter, became more sensitive to Cd, suggesting that Cd was absorbed by OsIRT1 and OsIRT2. We discuss the possibility that Cd accumulation in rice grains during the reproductive stage is mediated by the Fe transport system.
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