Comprehensive analysis of variation of cadmium accumulation in rice and detection of a new weak allele of OsHMA3.J Exp Bot. 2019 11 18; 70(21):6389-6400.JE
Excessive cadmium (Cd) accumulation in rice poses a potential threat to human health. Rice varieties vary in their Cd content, which depends mainly on root-to-shoot translocation of Cd. However, cultivars accumulating high Cd in the natural population have not been completely investigated. In this study, we analyzed the variation in Cd accumulation in a diverse panel of 529 rice cultivars. Only a small proportion (11 of 529) showed extremely high root-to-shoot Cd transfer rates, and in seven of these cultivars this was caused by two known OsHMA3 alleles. Using quantitative trait loci mapping, we identified a new OsHMA3 allele that was associated with high Cd accumulation in three of the remaining cultivars. Using heterologous expression in yeast and comparative analysis among different rice cultivars, we observed that this new allele was weak at both the transcriptional and protein levels compared with the functional OsHMA3 genotypes. The weak Cd transport activity was further demonstrated to be caused by a Gly to Arg substitution at position 512. Our study comprehensively analyzed the variation in root-to-shoot Cd translocation rates in cultivated rice and identified a new OsHMA3 allele that caused high Cd accumulation in a few rice cultivars.