Iron is an essential nutrient for plants, animals and also for humans.
Iron is an essential nutrient for plants, animals and also for humans. It is needed for a diverse range of metabolic processes, for example for photosynthesis and for respiration. If a person is lacking iron, this leads to a major negative impact on health. Millions of people around the globe suffer from iron deficiency each year. Iron enters the human food chain through plants, either directly or indirectly. Although there are large quantities of iron in the soil in principle, plants may become iron-deficient because of the specific composition of the soil. Additionally, a plant's iron requirements vary throughout its development depending on external circumstances.
Because plants are sessile, they cannot escape their respective situation. Consequently, they have evolved strategies to recognise changing environmental conditions at an early stage and to adapt to these changes. Particularly in view of climate change, understanding the processes that plants use to adjust to variations in food supply when environmental factors become unpredictable is also of major importance to the agricultural sector and its collaborating research partners in their endeavours to breed new varieties of high-yield crop plants.
Iron regulation is an important model system in plant biology for understanding how cellular regulation processes impact on each other and the related signalling paths. Researchers at HHU under the leadership of Prof. Petra Bauer and her associate Dr. Tzvetina Brumbarova and at WWU under the leadership of Prof. Jörg Kudla and Prof. Uwe Karst have examined the special mechanisms and dynamics of a protein named "FIT" in iron uptake and have discovered cellular information processes that impact on FIT.
Read more at University of Münster
Image: Plants adapt the iron acquisition in their roots to their current requirements. Iron deficiency triggers calcium signals. This information is passed on, activating the effector protein FIT. (Credit: HHU / Tzvetina Brumbarova)