Ethylene is involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis by regulating the expression of iron-acquisition-related genes in Oryza sativa Academic Article uri icon


  • Plants employ two distinct strategies to obtain iron (Fe) from the soil. In Strategy I but not Strategy II plants, Fe limitation invokes ethylene production which regulates Fe deficiency responses. Oryza sativa (rice) is the only graminaceous plant described that possesses a Strategy I-like system for iron uptake as well as the classic Strategy II system. Ethylene production of rice roots was significantly increased when grown under Fe-depleted conditions. Moreover, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) treatment, a precursor of ethylene, conferred tolerance to Fe deficiency in rice by increasing internal Fe availability. Gene expression analysis of rice iron-regulated bHLH transcription factor OsIRO2, nicotianamine synthases 1 and 2 (NAS1 and NAS2), yellow-stripe like transporter 15 (YSL15) and iron-regulated transporter (IRT1) indicated that ethylene caused an increase in transcript abundance of both Fe (II) and Fe (III)-phytosiderophore uptake systems. RNA interference of OsIRO2 in transgenic rice showed that ethylene acted via this transcription factor to induce the expression of OsNAS1, OsNAS2, OsYSL15, and OsIRT1. By contrast, in Hordeum vulgare L. (barley), no ethylene production or ethylene-mediated effects of Fe response could be detected. In conclusion, Fe-limiting conditions increased ethylene production and signalling in rice, which is novel in Strategy II plant species.


  • Wu, Jiaojiao
  • Wang, Chuang
  • Zheng, Luqing
  • Wang, Lu
  • Chen, Yunlong
  • Whelan, James
  • Shou, Huixia

publication date

  • January 2011