Cloning of three ZIP/Nramp transporter genes from a Ni hyperaccumulator plant Thlaspi japonicum and their Ni2+-transport abilities

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2005 Aug;43(8):793-801. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2005.07.006. Epub 2005 Aug 31.


Ni homeostasis is essential for plant cell activity, but the mechanisms of Ni-transport and delivery are unknown. To elucidate the role of ZIP and NRAMP metal-transporters for Ni2+-transport and homeostasis, we cloned their homologous genes from the Ni hyperaccumulator Thlaspi japonicum, and investigated their Ni-transporting abilities by expression in yeast. The deduced amino acid sequences of the two Zip transporter genes (TjZnt1, TjZnt2) and one Nramp transporter gene cloned had high homologies with TcZNT1 and TcZNT2 of Thlaspi caerulescens and AtNRAMP4 of Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively, and were predicted as integral membrane proteins with 6 or 12 transmembrane domains. TjZNT1 and TjZNT2 had two long histidine-rich domains in the putative cytoplasmic domain between transmembrane domains III and IV. TjNRAMP4 conserved a consensus transporter motif between transmembrane domains VIII and IX. The yeast transformed with TjZNT1 or TjZNT2 showed a marked increase in Ni2+ tolerance with the gene expression. In contrast, the expression of TjNramp4 caused elevation of Ni2+ sensitivity and Ni2+ concentration. These data suggest that ZIP/NRAMP transporters participate in Ni2+ homeostasis of Ni hyperaccumulator plants. TjZNT1 had Zn2+-, Cd2+- and Mn2+-transporting abilities and TjZNT2 also had Zn2+- and Mn2+-transporting abilities, but TjNRAMP4 could transport Ni2+ but not Zn2+, Cd2+ or Mn2+.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cadmium
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Ion Transport
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nickel / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Thlaspi / genetics*
  • Thlaspi / metabolism*


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1
  • Cadmium
  • Nickel