Generation of Mercury-Hyperaccumulating Plants through Transgenic Expression of the Bacterial Mercury Membrane Transport Protein MerC
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The merC gene from Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans functions as a mercury uptake pump. MerC protein localizes in the cytoplasmic membrane of plant cells. When Arabidopsis thaliana and tobacco plants were transformed with the merC gene under the control of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, the resulting overexpression of merC rendered the host plants hypersensitive to Hg2+ and they accumulated approximately twice as much Hg2+ ion as the wild type plants. Thus, bacterial mercuric ion transporters such as MerC may be useful molecular tools for producing transgenic plants that hyperaccumulate Hg2+ ion.
KeywordsAcidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Arabidopsis MerC Mercury transporter Phytoremediation Tobacco
We thank Dr. J. Hara (Tohoku University) for help with the ICP-MS measurements. We also thank Drs. S. Matsuyama, H. Yamazaki, and K. Ishii (Tohoku University) for guiding the PIXE analysis. We are grateful to Dr. Thomas Berberich (Iwate Biotechnology Research Center) for critically reading our manuscript. This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-aid (Hazardous Chemicals) from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan (HC-05-11130-1).
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