AtHMA1 contributes to the detoxification of excess Zn(II) in Arabidopsis

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AtHMA1 is a member of the heavy metal-transporting ATPase family. It exhibits amino acid sequence similarity to two other Zn(II) transporters, AtHMA2 and AtHMA4, and contains poly-His motifs that are commonly found in Zn(II)-binding proteins, but lacks some amino acids that are typical for this class of transporters. AtHMA1 localizes to the chloroplast envelope. In comparison with wild-type plants, we observed a more pronounced sensitivity in the presence of high Zn(II) concentrations, and increased accumulation of Zn in the chloroplast of T-DNA insertional mutants inAtHMA1.The Zn(II)-sensitive phenotype ofAtHMA1knock-out plants was complemented by the expression ofAtHMA1under the control of its own promoter. The Zn(II)-transporting activity of AtHMA1 was confirmed in a heterologous expression system,Saccharomyces cerevisiae.The sensitivity of yeast to high concentrations of Zn(II) was altered by the expression of AtHMA1 lacking its N-terminal chloroplast-targeting signal. Taken together, these results suggest that under conditions of excess Zn(II), AtHMA1 contributes to Zn(II) detoxification by reducing the Zn content ofArabidopsis thalianaplastids.

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