Metal Homeostasis and Stress Responses in Plants
Some heavy metals, such as zinc and copper, are essential for life. In plants there are mechanisms for the uptake of these metals from soil, their translocation from root to shoot and their distribution to tissues and cells. In addition, there are mechanisms to deal with toxic excess of both essential and non-essential heavy metals.
Zinc-deficient soils – particularly in Australia – have severe effects on crop production and crop grains are an important source of dietary zinc for humans and animals. Long-term benefits of this research may be a greater understanding of the mechanisms of zinc uptake and distribution from the soil, particularly the delivery of zinc to developing grain. In addition, plants must respond to toxic metals from the soil and to the oxidative stress such metals cause. Understanding mechanisms of metal detoxification may assist in the development of plants for the bioremediation (phytoremediation) of contaminated soils.
Plants have evolved multiple mechanisms for metal homeostasis and metal detoxification.
These mechanisms include:
The main aims of our research are to identify:
We are using the model organism Arabidopsis with genetic, physiological, biochemical and molecular approaches to understanding these problems.
Current topics of research are as follows:
Date Created: 01 May 1995