Author:Hongling Wang, Hanmei Du, Hongyou Li, Ying Huang, Jianzhou Ding, Chan Liu, Ning Wang, Hai Lan, Suzhi Zhang.
Copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for plant growth and development; Cu homeostasis in plant is maintained by the important functions of Ctr/COPT-type Cu transporters. Although the COPT genes have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana and rice, little is known about Cu transporters in maize. In this study, three-members of putative maize Cu transporters (ZmCOPT 1, 2 and 3) are identified. ZmCOPT genes have expression in all of the tested tissues, including roots, stems, leaves and flowers (male and female), and their expression levels vary responding to stress due to Cu-deficiency and excess. Functional complementation and overexpression together with Cu uptake measurements in ZmCOPTs-transformed ctr1⊿ctr2⊿mutant strain or the wild type strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae show that the three ZmCOPT members possess the ability to be Cu transporters. Among these, ZmCOPT1 and ZmCOPT2 have high-affinity while ZmCOPT3 has low-affinity. In addition, ZmCOPT2 tend to specifically transport Cu (I) but no other bivalent metal ions.