Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Amanda Martin Barranco

Amanda Martin Barranco, first author of Dynamic control of the high-affinity iron uptake complex in root epidermal cells

Current Position: Postdoc in the team “Integrated Approaches to Ion Transport”, in the Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC), Gif-Sur-Yvette, France

Education: PhD in Biology from Paris-Saclay University, under the supervision of Dr. Enric Zelazny. MSc in Functional Plant Biology from University Montpellier 2 (France) and MSc in Biotechnology from University Autónoma de Madrid (Spain).  BSc in Biology from University Autónoma de Madrid (Spain)

Non-scientific Interests: reading, learning languages, discovering new food and cooking, and practicing karate

Brief bio: I have always been fascinated by how plants absorb metals from the soil: essential nutrients, hard to extract, but still highly toxic for the majority of plants if absorbed at high concentrations. After two master internships in the field of phytoremediation, learning how plants cope with metal excess in contaminated sites, I decided to focus on the study of broad spectra metal transporters such as IRT1. The particularity of this transporter is that, being the main root iron transporter in Arabidopsis, it also allows the absorption of metals such as zinc, manganese, cobalt and cadmium. Therefore, the control of such broad spectra metal transporters is the cellular gateway to allow metal nutrition, and also the first step that leads to metal hyper-accumulation in specific plant species. This is what brought me to undertake my PhD project in the context of iron nutrition in the laboratory of Grégory Vert, to better understand how plants control IRT1 and to uncover new regulators of IRT1. Looking for proteins interacting with IRT1 through a co-IP/mass spectrometry approach, we discovered that IRT1 interacts with FRO2, a ferric reductase, and AHA2, a proton pump, both of them known to be part of the process of iron uptake itself, and we have been able to describe the intracellular dynamics of such iron acquisition complex during iron starvation. Now, in the laboratory of Sébastien Thomine, I study the role of specific proteins in the trafficking of different plant metal transporters.

I enjoy a lot working in international environments, interacting with people about science and learning new things. And let’s see what the future brings forward!