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Issue 11, 2012
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Iron transport and storage in the coccolithophore: Emiliania huxleyi

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Iron is an essential element for all living organisms due to its ubiquitous role in redox and other enzymes, especially in the context of respiration and photosynthesis. The iron uptake and storage systems of terrestrial/higher plants are now reasonably well understood with two basic strategies for iron uptake being distinguished: strategy I plants use a mechanism involving soil acidification and induction of Fe(III)-chelate reductase (ferrireductase) and Fe(II) transporter proteins while strategy II plants have evolved sophisticated systems based on high-affinity, iron specific, binding compounds called phytosiderophores. In contrast, there is little knowledge about the corresponding systems in marine plant-like lineages. Herein we report a study of the iron uptake and storage mechanisms in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Short term radio-iron uptake studies indicate that iron is taken up by Emiliania in a time and concentration dependent manner consistent with an active transport process. Based on inhibitor studies it appears that iron is taken up directly as Fe(III). However if a reductive step is involved the Fe(II) must not be accessible to the external environment. Upon long term exposure to 57Fe we have been able, using a combination of Mössbauer and XAS spectroscopies, to identify a single metabolite which displays spectral features similar to the phosphorus-rich mineral core of bacterial and plant ferritins.

Graphical abstract: Iron transport and storage in the coccolithophore: Emiliania huxleyi

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Jul 2012, accepted on 10 Sep 2012 and first published on 11 Sep 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20144E
Citation: Metallomics, 2012,4, 1160-1166

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    Iron transport and storage in the coccolithophore: Emiliania huxleyi

    A. Hartnett, L. H. Böttger, B. F. Matzanke and C. J. Carrano, Metallomics, 2012, 4, 1160
    DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20144E

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