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Title: Two transporters mobilize magnesium from vacuolar stores to enable plant acclimation to magnesium deficiency

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential metal for chlorophyll biosynthesis and other metabolic processes in plant cells. Mg is largely stored in the vacuole of various cell types and remobilized to meet cytoplasmic demand. However, the transport proteins responsible for mobilizing vacuolar Mg2+ remain unknown. Here, we identified two Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Mg2+ transporters (MAGNESIUM TRANSPORTER 1 and 2; MGT1 and MGT2) that facilitate Mg2+ mobilization from the vacuole, especially when external Mg supply is limited. In addition to a high degree of sequence similarity, MGT1 and MGT2 exhibited overlapping expression patterns in Arabidopsis tissues, implying functional redundancy. Indeed, the mgt1 mgt2 double mutant, but not mgt1 and mgt2 single mutants, showed exaggerated growth defects as compared to the wild type under low-Mg conditions, in accord with higher expression levels of Mg-starvation gene markers in the double mutant. However, overall Mg level was also higher in mgt1 mgt2, suggesting a defect in Mg2+ remobilization in response to Mg deficiency. Consistently, MGT1 and MGT2 localized to the tonoplast and rescued the yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) mnr2Δ (manganese resistance 2) mutant strain lacking the vacuolar Mg2+ efflux transporter. In addition, disruption of MGT1 and MGT2 suppressed high-Mg sensitivity of calcineurin B-like 2 and more » 3 (cbl2 cbl3), a mutant defective in vacuolar Mg2+ sequestration, suggesting that vacuolar Mg2+ influx and efflux processes are antagonistic in a physiological context. We further crossed mgt1 mgt2 with mgt6, which lacks a plasma membrane MGT member involved in Mg2+ uptake, and found that the triple mutant was more sensitive to low-Mg conditions than either mgt1 mgt2 or mgt6. Hence, Mg2+ uptake (via MGT6) and vacuolar remobilization (through MGT1 and MGT2) work synergistically to achieve Mg2+ homeostasis in plants, especially under low-Mg supply in the environment.

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Journal Name:
Plant Physiology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1307-1320
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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