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Title: An assessment of molecular mechanisms involved in metal uptake, translocation and homeostasis in Agave, a genus of CAM succulent plants

item MARTINEZ-HERNANDEZ, AIDA - Colegio De Postgraduados
item LARA-REYNA, JOEL - Colegio De Postgraduados
item SANCHEZ-VILLARREAL, ALFREDO - Colegio De Postgraduados
item Grusak, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2013
Publication Date: 7/20/2013
Citation: Martinez-Hernandez, A., Lara-Reyna, J., Sanchez-Villarreal, A., Grusak, M.A. 2013. An assessment of molecular mechanisms involved in metal uptake, translocation and homeostasis in Agave, a genus of CAM succulent plants [abstract]. Annual Meeting of The American Society of Plant Biologists, July 20-24, 2013, Providence, Rhode Island. p. 59.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agave is a monocot genus with more than 200 species of succulent plants capable of growing under arid and desert lands, steep and rocky slopes, or in coasts with high salinity. Some of them have economic relevance either for the production of alcoholic beverages as Tequila, or for natural fiber production. It is largely known that the agaves have particular biological characteristics such as CAM metabolism, high tolerance to abiotic stress, and a complex secondary metabolism. However, very few studies have addressed their physiology at molecular level. Recently, we found that A. tequilana possesses an extremely high tolerance to metal ions such as Cu, Zn, Mn, Co or Cd and that it is capable of accumulating high quantities of these metals in aerial tissues. We also found that A. tequilana possesses an elevated constitutive level of metallothionein transcripts. Currently, we are testing the physiological and biochemical responses and the accumulation capabilities of several Agave species under different metal stress conditions, in hydroponics. An exhaustive bioinformatic search of the Agave-transcriptome-database that we previously generated, led us to find homologs of some of the most important genes involved in metal ion homeostasis in plants, including several ion transporters such as NRAMPs, ZIPs, and OPTs. The expression levels of these genes under stressing conditions (high metal or low nutrient levels) are being measured in two different Agave species adapted to grow in soils with high metal levels. The possible role of known mechanisms in uptake, translocation to aerial tissues, and homeostasis of metal ions in Agave plants, which display an overall physiology extremely different from other well-studied plant species, will be discussed.