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Department of Biology


Plants are exposed to antibiotics produced by soil microorganisms, but little is known about their responses at the transcriptional level. Likewise, few endogenous mechanisms of antibiotic resistance have been reported. The Arabidopsis thaliana ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter AtWBC19 (ABCG19) is known to confer kanamycin resistance, but the exact mechanism of resistance is not well understood. Here we examined the transcriptomes of control seedlings and wbc19 mutant seedlings using RNA-seq analysis. Exposure to kanamycin indicated changes in the organization of the photosynthetic apparatus, metabolic fluxes and metal uptake. Elemental analysis showed a 60% and 80% reduction of iron uptake in control and wbc19 mutant seedlings respectively, upon exposure to kanamycin. The drop in iron content was accompanied by the upregulation of the gene encoding for FERRIC REDUCTION OXIDASE 6 (FRO6) in mutant seedlings but not by the differential expression of other transport genes known to be induced by iron deficiency. In addition, wbc19 mutants displayed a distinct expression profile in the absence of kanamycin. Most notably the expression of several zinc ion binding proteins, including ZINC TRANSPORTER 1 PRECURSOR (ZIP1) was increased, suggesting abnormal zinc uptake. Elemental analysis confirmed a 50% decrease of zinc content in wbc19 mutants. Thus, the antibiotic resistance gene WBC19 appears to also have a role in zinc uptake.




PLoS One