Crystal structure of plant vacuolar transporter VIT1 (Nature Plants) ($)

Iron is an essential nutrient for plants that participates in cellular processes such as DNA replication, photosynthesis, and respiration. Excess iron accumulation is harmful to plants due to its participation in the generation of reactive oxygen species, which can damage cellular machinery. One of the ways to detoxify iron is to sequester it in the vacuole where it can be separated from important enzymes and macromolecules. In this paper, Kato et al. characterized the crystal structure of VIT1, a vacuolar iron transporter, from Eucalyptus grandis. They further dissected its function by testing its transport specificity and the necessity of amino acids within its metal binding domain. Since VIT1 has previously shown seed specific activity, further understanding of its structure and function may elevate its importance as a target for crop biofortification to address human iron deficiencies. (Summary by Nathan Scinto-Madonich) Nature Plants. 10.1038/s41477-019-0367-2