Arabidopsis IRT2 gene encodes a root-periphery iron transporter

Plant J. 2001 Apr;26(2):181-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.01018.x.


Iron uptake from the soil is a tightly controlled process in plant roots, involving specialized transporters. One such transporter, IRT1, was identified in Arabidopsis thaliana and shown to function as a broad-range metal ion transporter in yeast. Here we report the cloning and characterization of the IRT2 cDNA, a member of the ZIP family of metal transporters, highly similar to IRT1 at the amino-acid level. IRT2 expression in yeast suppresses the growth defect of iron and zinc transport yeast mutants and enhances iron uptake and accumulation. However, unlike IRT1, IRT2 does not transport manganese or cadmium in yeast. IRT2 expression is detected only in roots of A. thaliana plants, and is upregulated by iron deficiency. By fusing the IRT2 promoter to the uidA reporter gene, we show that the IRT2 promoter is mainly active in the external cell layers of the root subapical zone, and therefore provide the first tissue localization of a plant metal transporter. Altogether, these data support a role for the IRT2 transporter in iron and zinc uptake from the soil in response to iron-limited conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Artificial Gene Fusion
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cadmium / pharmacology
  • Carrier Proteins / classification
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cation Transport Proteins*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase / genetics
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Zinc / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • IRT2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Cadmium
  • Iron
  • Glutamate-Ammonia Ligase
  • Zinc

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF065444
  • GENBANK/AF136579
  • GENBANK/AF136580
  • GENBANK/AL024486
  • GENBANK/T04324