Only graminaceous monocots possess the Strategy II iron (Fe)-uptake system in which Fe is absorbed by roots as an Fe3+-phytosiderophore. In spite of being a Strategy II plant, however, rice (Oryza sativa) contains the previously identified Fe2+ transporter OsIRT1q3. In this study, we isolated the OsIRT2 gene from rice, which is highly homologous to OsIRT1. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that OsIRT1 and OsIRT2 are expressed predominantly in roots, and these transporters are induced by low-Fe conditions. When expressed in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cells, OsIRT2 cDNA reversed the growth defects of a yeast Fe-uptake mutant. This was similar to the effect of OsIRT1 cDNA. OsIRT1- and OsIRT2-green fluorescent protein fusion proteins localized to the plasma membrane when transiently expressed in onion (Allium cepa L.) epidermal cells. OsIRT1 promoter-GUS analysis revealed that OsIRT1 is expressed in the epidermis and exodermis of the elongating zone and in the inner layer of the cortex of the mature zone of Fe-deficient roots. OsIRT1 expression was also detected in the ccompanion cells. Analysis using the positron-emitting tracer imaging system showed that rice plants are able to take up both an Fe3+-phytosiderophore and Fe2+. This result indicates that, in addition to absorbing an Fe3+-phytosiderophore, rice possesses a novel Fe-uptake system that directly absorbs the Fe2+, a strategy that is advantageous for growth in submerged conditions.
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