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Copper in plants

AuthorsYruela Guerrero, Inmaculada
Keywordscopper homeostasis
copper transporters
Issue DateMar-2005
PublisherSociedade Brasileira de Fisiologia Vegetal
CitationBraz. J. Plant Physiol., vol.17, no.1, p.145-156
AbstractCopper is an essential metal for normal plant growth and development, although is also potentially toxic. Copper participates in numerous physiological processes and is essential cofactor for many metalloproteins, however, problems arise when excess copper is present in cells. Excess copper inhibits plant growth and impairs important cellular processes (i.e., photosynthetic electron transport). Since copper is both an essential cofactor and a toxic element, different strategies with a complex network of metal trafficking pathways have been evolved in plants to appropriately regulate its homeostasis as a function of changing environmental copper level. Such strategies must prevent accumulation of the metal in the freely reactive form (metal detoxification pathways) and to ensure proper delivery of this element to target metalloproteins. The mechanisms involved in the acquisition of this essential micronutrient have not been clearly defined although a number of genes have been recently identified which encode potential copper transporters. This review gives a briefly overview of the current understanding of main features concerning copper toxicity and tolerance in plants as well as information of recent findings on copper trafficking including copper detoxification factors, copper transporters and copper chaperones.
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