Plants take up metals, including the essential micronutrients [iron (Fe), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn)] and the toxic heavy metal cadmium (Cd), from soil and accumulate these metals in their edible parts, which are direct and indirect intake sources for humans. Multiple transporters belonging to different families are required to transport a metal from the soil to different organs and tissues, but only a few of them have been fully functionally characterized. The transport systems (the transporters required for uptake, translocation, distribution, redistribution, and their regulation) differ with metals and plant species, depending on the physiological roles, requirements of each metal, and anatomies of different organs and tissues. To maintain metal homeostasis in response to spatiotemporal fluctuations of metals in soil, plants have developed sophisticated and tightly regulated mechanisms through the regulation of transporters at the transcriptional and/or posttranscriptional levels. The manipulation of some transporters has succeeded in generating crops rich in essential metals but low in Cd accumulation. A better understanding of metal transport systems will contribute to better and safer crop production.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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