Metallochaperone-like genes in Arabidopsis thaliana

A complete inventory of metallochaperone-like proteins containing a predicted HMA domain in Arabidopsis revealed a large family of 67 proteins. 45 proteins, the HIPPs, have a predicted isoprenylation site while 22 proteins, the HPPs, do not. Sequence comparisons divided the proteins into seven major clusters (I–VII). Cluster IV is notable for the presence of a conserved Asp residue before the CysXXCys, metal binding motif, analogous to the Zn binding motif in E. coli ZntA. HIPP20, HIPP21, HIPP22, HIPP26 and HIPP27 in Cluster IV were studied in more detail. All but HIPP21 could rescue the Cd-sensitive, ycf1 yeast mutant but failed to rescue the growth of zrt1zrt2, zrc1cot1 and atx1 mutants. In Arabidopsis, single and double mutants did not show a phenotype but the hipp20/21/22 triple mutant was more sensitive to Cd and accumulated less Cd than the wild-type suggesting the HIPPs can have a role in Cd-detoxification, possibly by binding Cd. Promoter-GUS reporter expression studies indicated variable expression of these HIPPs. For example, in roots, HIPP22 and HIPP26 are only expressed in lateral root tips while HIPP20 and HIPP25 show strong expression in the root vasculature.

Muhammad Tehseen, Narelle Cairns, Sarah Sherson and Christopher S. Cobbett (Metallomics, 2010, 2, 556–564)