- •In this paper, we conducted a detailed analysis of the ZIP family transporter, NcZNT1, in the zinc (Zn)/cadmium (Cd) hyperaccumulating plant species, Noccaea caerulescens, formerly known as Thlaspi caerulescens. NcZNT1 was previously suggested to be the primary root Zn/Cd uptake transporter. Both a characterization of NcZNT1 transport function in planta and in heterologous systems, and an analysis of NcZNT1 gene expression and NcZNT1 protein localization were carried out.
- •We show that NcZNT1 is not only expressed in the root epidermis, but also is highly expressed in the root and shoot vasculature, suggesting a role in long-distance metal transport. Also, NcZNT1 was found to be a plasma membrane transporter that mediates Zn but not Cd, iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) or copper (Cu) uptake into plant cells.
- •Two novel regions of the NcZNT1 promoter were identified which may be involved in both the hyperexpression of NcZNT1 and its ability to be regulated by plant Zn status.
- •In conclusion, we demonstrate here that NcZNT1 plays a role in Zn and not Cd uptake from the soil, and based on its strong expression in the root and shoot vasculature, could be involved in long-distance transport of Zn from the root to the shoot via the xylem.