, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 577-587

Identification of a copper transporter family in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Abstract

Despite copper ions being crucial in proteins participating in plant processes such as electron transport, free-radical elimination and hormone perception and signaling, very little is known about copper inward transport across plant membranes. In this work, a five-member family (COPT1–5) of putative Arabidopsis copper transporters is described. We ascertain the ability of these proteins to functionally complement and transport copper in the corresponding Saccharomyces cerevisiae high-affinity copper transport mutant. The specific expression pattern of the Arabidopsis COPT1–5 mRNA in different tissues was analyzed by RT-PCR. Although all members are ubiquitously expressed, differences in their relative abundance in roots, leaves, stem and flowers have been observed. Moreover, steady-state COPT1 and COPT2 mRNA levels, the members that are most efficacious in complementing the S. cerevisiae high-affinity copper transport mutant, are down-regulated under copper excess, consistent with a role for these proteins in copper transport in Arabidopsis cells.