Silicon enhances leaf remobilization of iron in cucumber under limited iron conditions

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Retranslocation of iron (Fe) from source tissues enhances plant tolerance to Fe deficiency. Previous work has shown that silicon (Si) can alleviate Fe deficiency by enhancing acquisition and root to shoot translocation of Fe. Here the role of Si in Fe mobilization in older leaves and the subsequent retranslocation of Fe to young leaves of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants growing under Fe-limiting conditions was investigated.

METHODS: Iron ((57)Fe or naturally occurring isotopes) was measured in leaves at different positions on plants hydroponically growing with or without Si supply. In parallel, the concentration of the Fe chelator nicotianamine (NA) along with the expression of nicotianamine synthase (NAS) involved in its biosynthesis and the expression of yellow stripe-like (YSL) transcripts mediating Fe-NA transport were also determined.

KEY RESULTS: In plants not receiving Si, approximately half of the total Fe content remained in the oldest leaf. In contrast, Si-treated plants showed an almost even Fe distribution among leaves with four different developmental stages, thus providing evidence of enhanced Fe remobilization from source leaves. This Si-stimulated Fe export was paralleled by an increased NA accumulation and expression of the YSL1 transporter for phloem loading/unloading of the Fe-NA complex.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that Si enhances remobilization of Fe from older to younger leaves by a more efficient NA-mediated Fe transport via the phloem. In addition, from this and previous work, a model is proposed of how Si acts to improve Fe homeostasis under Fe deficiency in cucumber.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 169105609