Modulation of Zn/Cd P1B2-ATPase activities in Arabidopsis impacts differently on Zn and Cd contents in shoots and seeds
Zn is an essential microelement for all living cells and Zn deficiency is widespread in world's population. At the same time, high Zn concentration and low Cd concentration are toxic to the environment. Both Zn and Cd are transported in planta via Zn/Cd HMA transporters. Engineering of HMAs expression in plants may provide a way for Zn biofortification of food as well as phytoremediation of polluted soils. In the present study we have assessed the impact of Zn/Cd HMAs invalidation/overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana on Zn and Cd translocation from the roots to the shoots and in Zn grain filling. Overexpression of AtHMA4 had a large impact on Zn and Cd translocation and resulted in a 3-fold higher potential of Cd and Zn extraction from an industrial soil highly contaminated by Zn, Pb and Cd. Despite AtHMA4 overexpressing lines presenting a higher Zn concentration in the shoot, the Zn content in the seeds was found to be lower than in wild type plants. Our results indicate that AtHMA4 overexpression is an efficient tool to increase the root to shoot translocation of Zn and Cd in plants. Concerning biofortification of seeds, this study underlines the need for specific promoters to drive an expression pattern of the transporters in favour of Zn grain filling.