Cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) proteins are ubiquitous divalent cation transporters that have been proved to be essential for metal homeostasis and tolerance in Archaebacteria, Bacteria, and Eukaryota. In plants, CDFs are designated as metal tolerance proteins (MTPs). Due to the lack of genomic resources, studies on MTPs in other plants, including cultivated crops, are lacking. Here, the identification and organization of genes encoding members of the MTP family in cucumber are described. The first functional characterization of a cucumber gene encoding a member of the Mn-CDF subgroup of CDF proteins, designated as CsMTP8 based on the highest homology to plant MTP8, is also presented. The expression of CsMTP8 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae led to increased Mn accumulation in yeast cells and fully restored the growth of mutants hypersensitive to Mn in Mn excess. Similarly, the overexpression of CsMTP8 in Arabidopsis thaliana enhanced plant tolerance to high Mn in nutrition media as well as the accumulation of Mn in plant tissues. When fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP), CsMTP8 localized to the vacuolar membranes in yeast cells and to Arabidopsis protoplasts. In cucumber, CsMTP8 was expressed almost exclusively in roots, and the level of gene transcript was markedly up-regulated or reduced under elevated Mn or Mn deficiency, respectively. Taken together, the results suggest that CsMTP8 is an Mn transporter localized in the vacuolar membrane, which participates in the maintenance of Mn homeostasis in cucumber root cells.
Keywords: CDF (cation diffusion facilitator) family; Cucumis sativus; MTP (metal tolerance protein) family; heavy metals; metal homeostasis; tonoplast..
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