Unravelling uranium uptake mechanisms in Arabidopsis thaliana (Research)
Uranium (U) is a radionuclide and heavy metal that naturally occurs, in relatively low concentrations, in soils and in aquatic environments. Due to anthropogenic activities, such as U mining and the phosphate industry, concentrations have locally risen to concentrations that may have an ecological impact. A lot is known about U toxicity in plants, yet little is known about the uptake mechanisms. This information, however, could prove useful to be able to evaluate and clean U-contaminated soils. Therefore, the objective of this project is to determine the uptake and translocation mechanisms of U in Arabidopsis thaliana. We hypothesize that: (i) U is taken up through specific transport mechanisms in plants that are involved in nutrient uptake, (ii) Fe, Ca and/or P-ions alter U uptake and translocation in plants, possibly through altered U-speciation and (iii) U influences Fe, Ca and P uptake and homeostasis in plants which can lead to U-induced stress responses. The competition of uptake between U and Fe, Ca, and P will be investigated through tracer studies or using mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana with altered Fe, Ca and P homeostasis. Next, the microlocalisation of U will be investigated. Finally, the knowledge about the mechanistic understanding of U uptake will be enlarged by using RNAsequencing techniques.
Period of project
01 October 2018 - 30 September 2022