Iron-binding haemerythrin RING ubiquitin ligases regulate plant iron responses and accumulation

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2792. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3792.


Iron is essential for most living organisms. Plants transcriptionally induce genes involved in iron acquisition under conditions of low iron availability, but the nature of the deficiency signal and its sensors are unknown. Here we report the identification of new iron regulators in rice, designated Oryza sativa Haemerythrin motif-containing Really Interesting New Gene (RING)- and Zinc-finger protein 1 (OsHRZ1) and OsHRZ2. OsHRZ1, OsHRZ2 and their Arabidopsis homologue BRUTUS bind iron and zinc, and possess ubiquitination activity. OsHRZ1 and OsHRZ2 are susceptible to degradation in roots irrespective of iron conditions. OsHRZ-knockdown plants exhibit substantial tolerance to iron deficiency, and accumulate more iron in their shoots and grains irrespective of soil iron conditions. The expression of iron deficiency-inducible genes involved in iron utilization is enhanced in OsHRZ-knockdown plants, mostly under iron-sufficient conditions. These results suggest that OsHRZ1 and OsHRZ2 are iron-binding sensors that negatively regulate iron acquisition under conditions of iron sufficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Oryza / enzymology
  • Oryza / genetics
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / enzymology
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Plant Proteins
  • Iron
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Zinc