HvZIP7 mediates zinc accumulation in barley (Hordeum vulgare) at moderately high zinc supply.New Phytol. 2014 Jan; 201(1):131-143.NP
High expression of zinc (Zn)-regulated, iron-regulated transporter-like protein (ZIP) genes increases root Zn uptake in dicots, leading to high accumulation of Zn in shoots. However, none of the ZIP genes tested previously in monocots could enhance shoot Zn accumulation. In this report, barley (Hordeum vulgare) HvZIP7 was investigated for its functions in Zn transport. The functions of HvZIP7 in planta were studied using in situ hybridization and transient analysis of subcellular localization with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter. Transgenic barley lines overexpressing HvZIP7 were also generated to further understand the functions of HvZIP7 in metal transport. HvZIP7 is strongly induced by Zn deficiency, primarily in vascular tissues of roots and leaves, and its protein was localized in the plasma membrane. These properties are similar to its closely related homologs in dicots. Overexpression of HvZIP7 in barley plants increased Zn uptake when moderately high concentrations of Zn were supplied. Significantly, there was a specific enhancement of shoot Zn accumulation, with no measurable increase in iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) or cadmium (Cd). HvZIP7 displays characteristics of low-affinity Zn transport. The unique function of HvZIP7 provides new insights into the role of ZIP genes in Zn homeostasis in monocots, and offers opportunities to develop Zn biofortification strategies in cereals.