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Frontiers in Plant Science


Department of Biological Sciences


Manganese (Mn), an essential trace element, is important for plant health. In plants, Mn serves as a cofactor in essential processes such as photosynthesis, lipid biosynthesis and oxidative stress. Mn deficient plants exhibit decreased growth and yield and are more susceptible to pathogens and damage at freezing temperatures. Mn deficiency is most prominent on alkaline soils with approximately one third of the world’s soils being too alkaline for optimal crop production. Despite the importance of Mn in plant development, relatively little is known about how it traffics between plant tissues and into and out of organelles. Several gene transporter families have been implicated in Mn transport in plants. These transporter families include NRAMP (natural resistance associated macrophage protein), YSL (yellow stripe-like), ZIP (zinc regulated transporter/iron-regulated transporter [ZRT/IRT1]-related protein), CAX (cation exchanger), CCX (calcium cation exchangers), CDF/MTP (cation diffusion facilitator/metal tolerance protein), P-type ATPases and VIT (vacuolar iron transporter). A combination of techniques including mutant analysis and Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy can assist in identifying essential transporters of Mn. Such knowledge would vastly improve our understanding of plant Mn homeostasis.