Heavy metal-associated isoprenylated plant protein (HIPP): characterization of a family of proteins exclusive to plants

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Metallochaperones are key proteins for the safe transport of metallic ions inside the cell. HIPPs (heavy metal-associated isoprenylated plant proteins) are metallochaperones that contain a metal binding domain (HMA) and a C–terminal isoprenylation motif. In this study, we provide evidence that proteins of this family are found only in vascular plants and may be separated into five distinct clusters. HIPPs may be involved in (a) heavy metal homeostasis and detoxification mechanisms, especially those involved in cadmium tolerance, (b) transcriptional responses to cold and drought, and (c) plant–pathogen interactions. In particular, our results show that the rice (Oryza sativa) HIPP OsHIPP41 gene is highly expressed in response to cold and drought stresses, and its product is localized in the cytosol and the nucleus. The results suggest that HIPPs play an important role in the development of vascular plants and in plant responses to environmental changes.

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