To ensure the success of the new generation in annual species, the mother plant transfers a large proportion of the nutrients it has accumulated during its vegetative life to the next generation through its seeds. Iron (Fe) is required in large amounts to provide the energy and redox power to sustain seedling growth. However, free Fe is highly toxic as it leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species. Fe must, therefore, be tightly bound to chelating molecules to allow seed survival for long periods of time without oxidative damage. Nevertheless, when conditions are favorable, the seed's Fe stores have to be readily remobilized to achieve the transition toward active photosynthesis before the seedling becomes able to take up Fe from the environment. This is likely critical for the vigor of the young plant. Seeds constitute an important dietary source of Fe, which is essential for human health. Understanding the mechanisms of Fe storage in seeds is a key to improve their Fe content and availability in order to fight Fe deficiency. Seed longevity, germination efficiency and seedling vigor are also important traits that may be affected by the chemical form under which Fe is stored. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on seed Fe loading during development, long-term storage and remobilization upon germination. We highlight how this knowledge may help seed Fe biofortification and discuss how Fe storage may affect the seed quality and germination efficiency.
Review Article| January 17 2020
Handing off iron to the next generation: how does it get into seeds and what for?
3Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC), CEA, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
Correspondence: Sébastien Thomine (Sebastien.email@example.com)
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Stéphane Mari, Christophe Bailly, Sébastien Thomine; Handing off iron to the next generation: how does it get into seeds and what for?. Biochem J 17 January 2020; 477 (1): 259–274. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20190188
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