Anemia induced by iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional disorders in the world. Most people obtain nutritional iron predominantly from plants. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that plants use to uptake, transport, and utilize iron, and respond to low iron conditions.
We use genomics, molecular biology, and genetics to identify root-specific transcriptional responses that regulate physiological alterations associated with iron deprivation in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Our work resulted in the first whole-genome, high-resolution transcriptional profile of iron deficiency in the root, and led to the identification of two regulatory genes that play a key role in how plants respond to low iron conditions.
Our continued efforts are focused on identifying additional iron deficiency response regulators and their corresponding gene targets, with the long-term goal of elucidating gene regulatory networks involved in plant iron homeostasis. Ultimately this information may lead to the generation of crops with increased nutritional content and increased yield when grown in poor soils.