, Volume 190, Issue 4, pp 555–561 | Cite as

Induction of iron(III) and copper(II) reduction in pea (Pisum sativum L.) roots by Fe and Cu status: Does the root-cell plasmalemma Fe(III)-chelate reductase perform a general role in regulating cation uptake?

  • Ross M. Welch
  • Wendell A. Norvell
  • Stephen C. Schaefer
  • Jon E. Shaff
  • Leon V. Kochian


We investigated the effects of Fe and Cu status of pea (Pisum sativum L.) seedlings on the regulation of the putative root plasma-membrane Fe(III)-chelate reductase that is involved in Fe(III)-chelate reduction and Fe2+ absorption in dicotyledons and nongraminaceous monocotyledons. Additionally, we investigated the ability of this reductase system to reduce Cu(II)-chelates as well as Fe(III)-chelates. Pea seedlings were grown in full nutrient solutions under control, -Fe, and -Cu conditions for up to 18 d. Iron(III) and Cu(II) reductase activity was visualized by placing roots in an agarose gel containing either Fe(III)-EDTA and the Fe(II) chelate, Na2bathophenanthrolinedisulfonic acid (BPDS), for Fe(III) reduction, or CuSO4, Na3citrate, and Na2-2,9-dimethyl-4,7-diphenyl-1, 10-phenanthrolinedisulfonic acid (BCDS) for Cu(II) reduction. Rates of root Fe(III) and Cu(II) reduction were determined via spectrophotometric assay of the Fe(II)-BPDS or the Cu(I)-BCDS chromophore. Reductase activity was induced or stimulated by either Fe deficiency or Cu depletion of the seedlings. Roots from both Fe-deficient and Cu-depleted plants were able to reduce exogenous Cu(II)-chelate as well as Fe(III)-chelate. When this reductase was induced by Fe deficiency, the accumulation of a number of mineral cations (i.e., Cu, Mn, Fe, Mg, and K) in leaves of pea seedlings was significantly increased. We suggest that, in addition to playing a critical role in Fe absorption, this plasma-membrane reductase system also plays a more general role in the regulation of cation absorption by root cells, possibly via the reduction of critical sulfhydryl groups in transport proteins involved in divalent-cation transport (divalent-cation channels?) across the root-cell plasmalemma.

Key words

Cation absorption Copper (reduction, deficiency) Iron (reduction, deficiency) Pisum (cation uptake) Plasma membrane reductase 



Na2-2,9-dimethyl-4,7-diphenly-1,10-phenant hrolinedisulfonic acid


Na2-bathophenanthrolinedisulfonic acid


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross M. Welch
    • 1
  • Wendell A. Norvell
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Schaefer
    • 1
  • Jon E. Shaff
    • 1
  • Leon V. Kochian
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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