, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 503–513 | Cite as

Investigation of ascorbate-mediated iron release from ferric phytosiderophores in the presence of nicotianamine

  • Günther Weber
  • Nicolaus von Wirén
  • Heiko Hayen


Phytosiderophores (PS) are strong iron chelators, produced by graminaceous plants under iron deficiency. The ability of released PS to chelate iron(III), and subsequent uptake of this chelate into roots by YS1-type transport proteins, are well-known. The mechanism of iron release from the stable chelate inside the plant cell, however, is unclear. One possibility involves the reduction of ferric PS in the presence of an iron(II) chelator via ternary complex formation. Here, the conversion of ferric PS species by ascorbate in the presence of the intracellular ligand nicotianamine (NA) has been investigated at cytosolic pH (pH 7.3), leading to the formation of a ferrous NA chelate. This reaction takes place when supplying Fe(III) as a chelate with 2′-deoxymugineic acid (DMA), mugineic acid (MA), and 3-epi-hydroxymugineic acid (epi-HMA), with the reaction rate decreasing in this order. The progress of the conversion of ferric DMA to ferrous NA was monitored in real-time by high resolution mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS), and the results are complemented by electrochemical measurements (cyclic voltammetry), which allows detecting reactive intermediates and their change with time at high sensitivity. Hence, the combined results of electrochemistry and mass spectrometry indicate an ascorbate-mediated mechanism for the iron release from ferric PS, which highlights the role of ascorbate as a simple, but effective plant reductant.


Phytosiderophores Iron Reduction Cyclic voltammetry Mass spectrometry 



We thank E. Scheuermann (Hohenheim University, Germany) for supply of purified phytosiderophores, Profs. T. Kitahara and S. Mori (University of Tokyo, Japan) for supply of synthesized NA, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for financial support to GW (grants WE 2422/5) and to NvW (grants WI 1728/6). Financial support from the Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft, Forschung und Technologie des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen and by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günther Weber
    • 1
  • Nicolaus von Wirén
    • 2
  • Heiko Hayen
    • 1
  1. 1.ISAS-Institute for Analytical SciencesDortmundGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Plant NutritionHohenheim UniversityStuttgartGermany

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