Effective regulation of iron acquisition in graminaceous plants. The role of mugineic acids as phytosiderophores

Jian Feng Ma, Kyosuke Nomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Discovery of mugineic acids as phytosiderophores has shown that some graminaceous monocotyledonous plants have a different iron acquisition strategy (strategy II) from dicotyledonous and nongraminaceous monocotyledonous plants (strategy I). The process of iron acquisition by strategy II plants can be divided into four main steps: biosynthesis, secretion, solubilization, and uptake, all of which are effectively regulated by different systems. The biosynthesis of mugineic acids is controlled by an on-off system which is operated under the control of iron demand in the plant. All mugineic acids share the same biosynthetic pathway from L-methionine to 2′-deoxymugineic acid, but the subsequent steps differ among plant species and even cultivars. The biosynthesis of mugineic acids is associated with the methionine recycling pathway. The secretion of mugineic acids shows a distinct diurnal rhythm. Mugineic acids solubilize sparingly soluble inorganic iron by chelation and possess a high chelation affinity for iron, but not for other polyvalent ions such as Ca2+, Mg2+ and Al3+. The iron uptake process is regulated by a specific uptake system that transports the mugineic acid-Fe(III) complex as an intact molecule. This system specifically recognizes the mugineic acid-Fe(III) complexes, but not other mugineic acid-metal or synthetic chelator-Fe(III) complexes, suggesting that binding sites with strict recognition for stereostructure of the complex are located on the plasma membrane. All these regulatory systems are considered to represent an efficient strategy to acquire adequate amounts of iron and to avoid factors unfavorable for iron acquisition such as high pH. high concentrations of bicarbonate, Ca2+ and Mg2+, microbial degradation, and uptake of other metals that are common in calcareous soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996


  • Biosynthesis
  • Graminaceous plants
  • Iron
  • Mugineic acids
  • Secretion
  • Solubilization
  • Uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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