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Abstract

FIT, a regulatory hub for iron deficiency and stress signaling in roots, and FIT-dependent and-independent gene signatures

Iron (Fe) is vital for plant growth. Plants balance the beneficial and toxic effects of this micronutrient, and tightly control Fe uptake and allocation. Here, we review the role of the basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factor FIT (FER-LIKE FE DEFICIENCY-INDUCED TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR) in Fe acquisition. FIT is not only essential, it is also a central regulatory hub in root cells to steer and adjust the rate of Fe uptake by the root in a changing environment. FIT regulates a subset of root Fe deficiency (–Fe) response genes. Based on a combination of co-expression network and FIT-dependent transcriptome analyses, we defined a set of FIT-dependent and FIT-independent gene expression signatures and co-expression clusters that encode specific functions in Fe regulation and Fe homeostasis. These gene signatures serve as markers to integrate novel regulatory factors and signals into the –Fe response cascade. FIT forms a complex with bHLH subgroup Ib transcription factors. Furthermore, it interacts with key regulators from different signaling pathways that either activate or inhibit FIT function to adjust Fe acquisition to growth and environmental constraints. Co-expression clusters and FIT protein interactions suggest a connection of –Fe with ABA responses and root cell elongation processes that can be explored in future studies.



Schwarz, B.; Bauer, P.; FIT, a regulatory hub for iron deficiency and stress signaling in roots, and FIT-dependent and-independent gene signatures, Journal of Experimental Botany 2020