Title: Molecular characterization of the COPT/Ctr-type copper transporter family under heavy metal stress in alfalfa
Authors: Qiuxia Wang (王秋霞), Na Wei (魏娜), Xiaoyu Jin (金小煜), Xueyang Min (闵学阳), Yitong Ma (马艺桐), Wenxian Liu* (刘文献)
Journal: International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Impact factor: IF2020=6.953 (TOP)
Abstract: In nature, heavy metals significantly affect crop growth and quality. Among various heavy metals, copper (Cu) is both essential and toxic to plants depending on the concentration and complex homeostatic networks. The Cu transporter family (COPT) plays important roles in Cu homeostasis, including absorption, transportation, and growth in plants; however, this gene family is still poorly understood in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). In this study, a total of 12 MsCOPTs were identified and characterized. Based on the conserved motif and phylogenetic analysis, MsCOPTs could be divided into four subgroups (A1, A2, A3, and B). Gene structure, chromosomal location, and synteny analyses of MsCOPTs showed that segmental and tandem duplications likely contributed to their evolution. Tissue-specific expression analysis of MsCOPT genes indicated diverse spatiotemporal expression patterns. Most MsCOPT genes had high transcription levels in roots and nodules, indicating that these genes may play vital roles in the absorption and transport of Cu through root. The complementary heterologous expression function of yeast once again indicates that root-specific COPT can supplement the growth of defective yeast strains on YPEG medium, suggesting that these genes are Cu transporters. In summary, for the first time, our research identified COPT family genes at the whole-genome level to provide guidance for effectively improving the problem of Cu deficiency in the grass-livestock chain and provide theoretical support for the subsequent development of grass and animal husbandry.