Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Cloning and characterisation of ZmZLP1, a gene encoding an endoplasmic reticulum-localised zinc transporter in Zea mays

Yao-Guang Xu A , Bao-Sheng Wang A , Jing-Juan Yu A , Guang-Ming Ao A and Qian Zhao A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A State Key Laboratory of Agribiotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.

B Corresponding author. Email: zhaoqian@cau.edu.cn

Functional Plant Biology 37(3) 194-205 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP09045
Submitted: 24 February 2009  Accepted: 12 November 2009   Published: 25 February 2010

Abstract

The ZmZLP1 (ZmZIP-like protein) gene was isolated from a cDNA library of Zea mays L. (maize) pollen. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that ZmZLP1 shares many characteristics of the ZIP (ZRT/IRT-like protein) family of metal ion transporters. Under general nutrient conditions, the expression of ZmZLP1 was detected in both mature pollen and, less strongly, in male inflorescences, whereas an induction of the ZmZLP1 transcript was observed in roots after 12 h of zinc deprivation. The visualisation of GFP showed that ZmZLP1 was targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). To investigate the gene’s functions, we fused ZmZLP1 with the signal peptide of the plasma membrane-localised protein AtIRT1 and transformed this fusion protein into the zinc uptake-deficient yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) strain ZHY3 and the wild-type strain DEY1457. The IRT1-ZmZLP1 transformants grew poorly on zinc-limited medium, and this growth defect was rescued by zinc supplementation, suggesting that ZmZLP1 is responsible for transporting zinc from the ER to the cytoplasm. Further research indicated that ZmZLP1 is involved in the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway and enhances the heat resistance of yeast cells.

Additional keywords: corn, maize, subcellular localisation, unfolded protein response, zinc deficiency induction, ZIP family.


Acknowledgements

We thank Elixigen Corporation for critical comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a project (no. 2008ZX08009-003) from the Ministry of Agriculture of China for transgenic research.


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