Heterologous expression of TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b enhances Ca2+ and Zn2+ translocation in Arabidopsis

  • Kun Qiao
  • Fanhong Wang
  • Shuang Liang
  • Zhangli HuEmail author
  • Tuanyao ChaiEmail author
Original Article


Key message

TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b improved Ca2+ and Zn2+ translocation and TuCAX1b enhanced Ca2+, Zn2+, Mn2+ and Fe2+ content when exposed to Cd2+; Cd2+ translocation was inhibited under Ca2+ and Zn2+.


Cation/H+ antiporters (CAXs) are involved in the translocation of Ca2+ and various metal ions in higher plants. In the present study, TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b, two cation/H+ antiporters, were isolated from the diploid wheat Triticum urartu, and their metal cation translocation functions investigated. TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b showed abundant tissue-specific expression in the internode and beard, respectively, and their expression levels were increased in shoots exposed to Cd2+, Zn2+ and Ca2+. Plant phenotype analysis showed that overexpression of TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b could improve the tolerance of Arabidopsis to exogenous Ca2+ and Zn2+. In the plant shoots and roots, the contents of Ca2+ and Zn2+ were higher than wild-type plants under Ca2+ and Zn2+ treatments, indicating that TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b can enhance Ca2+ and Zn2+ translocation. Ca2+, Zn2+, Mn2+ and Fe2+ contents showed higher accumulation in TuCAX1b-transgenic Arabidopsis shoots than in wild-type plants exposed to Cd2+, and the translocation of Cd2+ was inhibited under Ca2+ and Zn2+. Overall, the present study provides a novel genetic resource for improving the uptake of microelements and reducing accumulation of toxic heavy metals in wheat.


Triticum urartu TuCAX1a TuCAX1b Heavy metal Tolerance Translocation 



This work was supported by the Young Scientists Fund (Grant no. 31800200), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 31370281) and Joint Fund of Research utilizing Large-scale Scientific Facilities (CN) (Grant no. U1632111).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

299_2019_2390_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.2 mb)
All primer sequences were used in the present study (Table S1): molecular cloning of TuCAX1a (Figure S1), molecular cloning of TuCAX1a 3’-terminal sequences (Figure S2), molecular cloning of TuCAX1a 5’-terminal sequences (Figure S3), molecular cloning of TuCAX1b (Figure S4), the phylogenetic relationship of TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b (Figure S5), molecular cloning of truncated TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b (Figure S6), phenotypes of yeast overexpressing all target genes to various heavy-metal cations (Figure S7), metal concentrations of WT, all TuCAX1a and TuCAX1b transgenic Arabidopsis (Figure S8), metal concentrations of WT, TuCAX1a and truncated TuCAX1a transgenic Arabidopsis (Figure S9), Metal concentrations of WT, TuCAX1b and truncated TuCAX1b transgenic Arabidopsis (Figure S10) (DOCX 4269 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Marine Bioresource and Eco-environmental Science, Guangdong Engineering Research Center for Marine Algal Biotechnology, College of Life Science and OceanographyShenzhen UniversityShenzhenChina
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceUniversity of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Genetics and Developmental BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.The Innovative Academy of Seed Design (INASEED)Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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