How plants cope with iron deficiency

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Iron deficiency triggers calcium signals. This information is passed on, activating the effector protein FIT. Credit: HHU / Tzvetina Brumbarova

RESEARCHERS at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and the University of Münster (WWU) have discovered a new switch that plants
use to control their responses to iron deficiency.

The findings from their research on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana is published in the journal Developmental Cell. 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.