Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

PloS One


Department of Biological Sciences


Iron deficiency induces a complex set of responses in plants, including developmental and physiological changes, to increase iron uptake from soil. In Arabidopsis, many transporters involved in the absorption and distribution of iron have been identified over the past decade. However, little is known about the signaling pathways and networks driving the various responses to low iron. Only the basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factor FIT has been shown to control the expression of the root iron uptake machinery genes FRO2 and IRT1. Here, we characterize the biological role of two other iron-regulated transcription factors, bHLH100 and bHLH101, in iron homeostasis. First direct transcriptional targets of FIT were determined in vivo. We show that bHLH100 and bHLH101 do not regulate FIT target genes, suggesting that they play a non-redundant role with the two closely related bHLH factors bHLH038 and bHLH039 that have been suggested to act in concert with FIT. bHLH100 and bHLH101 play a crucial role in iron-deficiency responses, as attested by their severe growth defects and iron homeostasis related phenotypes on low-iron media. To gain further insight into the biological role of bHLH100 and bHLH101, we performed microarray analysis using the corresponding double mutant and showed that bHLH100 and bHLH101 likely regulate genes involved in the distribution of iron within the plant. Altogether, this work establishes bHLH100 and bHLH101 as key regulators of iron-deficiency responses independent of the master regulator FIT and sheds light on new regulatory networks important for proper growth and development under low iron conditions.



Original Citation

Sivitz AB, Hermand V, Curie C, Vert G. Arabidopsis bHLH100 and bHLH101 control iron homeostasis via a FIT-independent pathway. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044843. Epub 2012 Sep 11. PMID: 22984573; PMCID: PMC3439455.