Group « Iron Transport and Signaling »

Dr Cathy Curie
Research Director CNRS
Tel: +33 4 99 61 31 40

1997- CNRS scientist, BPMP Montpellier, France
1992-1996 Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley, USA
1988-1992 PhD University of Toulouse, France

 Research interests:  

Iron (Fe) is absolutely required for cell life because it is used as a cofactor in essential metabolic pathways. Iron supply to plants, however, is often not sufficient due to its low solubility in many soils. Plants have therefore evolved sophisticated mechanisms to acquire iron. Moreover, since excess cellular iron is cytotoxic, iron entry in the cell must be tightly controlled in order to maintain a strict iron homeostasis. Our objective is to unravel the processes that underlie iron uptake and iron distribution to organs and organelles in plants, using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Manganese homeostasis is also of high importance for plants as it is essential for photosynthesis and antioxidant defense. Yet, Mn homeostasis is understudied. We have identified the primary high-affinity Mn transporter NRAMP1 in Arabidopsis while other members of the NRAMP family have been assigned a crucial function in Mn transport. We aim to investigate the molecular responses of Arabidopsis to changes in Mn availability using a combination of molecular physiology, genetics and omics approaches.

 Research highlights:  

  Study of the role of candidate transporters involved in iron uptake, iron long-distance circulation and iron mobilization in and out of major organelles. Role of the Fe transporters YSL4 and YSL6 in controling Fe allocation in the chloroplasts. Genetic screen for Arabidopsis mutants defective in Fe distribution in the embryo. Analysis of candidate mutants.

  Identification of the regulatory mechanisms that control iron uptake and search for components of the signaling cascade in response to Fe limitation (genetic screens and genomics).

  Iron speciation in plant tissues. Because Fe ions are extremely reactive, they exist mainly as complexes, but our knowledge of the nature of the iron ligands is still very scarce. In plants, citrate and nicotianamine chelate iron and play a key role in its circulation in the saps. To complete the inventory of the iron chemical species, we are analyzing the Fe complexes in homogeneous compartments such as the xylem sap of Arabidopsis or the embryo sac liquid of the pea seed (analytical chemistry and reverse genetics).

  Iron imaging in plant tissues. We have developed a highly sensitive method of histochemical staining of iron suitable to observe Fe distribution in cells with a subcellular resolution, providing a powerful tool to characterize Fe movement and transporters function and assist classical elemental imaging techniques (µPIXE, µXRF). We have discovered the existence of a massive pool of iron in the nucleus of plant cells and are now investigating its nature and function using synchrotron assisted imaging and chemical techniques and genetics

  Molecular bases of manganese transport. In addition to their ability to take up Fe, transporters of Arabidopsis NRAMP and ZIP families catalyze the uptake of Mn. In particular, IRT1 and NRAMP1 are high-affinity Mn transporters mediating Mn entry in the root. We are interested in the dialog between Fe and Mn metabolisms and how it regulates Fe and Mn transport activities in plants.

 Available position : 


- Research Highlight : « Ascorbate opens the door ». News & Views section of Nature Chem. Biol. In press

- Grillet L., Ouerdane L., Flis P., Thi Thanh Hoang M., Isaure MP., Lobinski R., Curie C., Mari S. (2013) Ascorbate Efflux as a New Strategy for Iron Reduction and Transport in Plants. J. Biol. Chem. Dec. 17
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Roschzttardtz H., Conéjéro G., Divol F., Alcon C., Verdeil J.L., Curie C., Mari S. (2013) New Insights into Fe Localization in Plant Tissues. Front. Plant Sci. Sept 6
[ Link to pdf ]

- Divol F., Couch D., Conéjéro G., Roschzttardtz H., Mari S., Curie C. (2013) The Arabidopsis YELLOW STRIPE LIKE 4 and 6 Transporters Control Iron Release from the Chloroplast. The Plant Cell, 25 (3) : 1040-1055
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Sivitz A., Hermand V., Curie C. Vert G. (2012) Arabidopsis bHLH100 and bHLH101 control iron homeostasis via a FIT-independent pathway. PLoS One 7 (9) : e44843
[ Link to pdf ]

- Barberon M., Zelazny E., Robert S., Conéjéro G., Curie C., Frim J. and Vert G. (2011) Monoubiquitin-dependent Endocytosis of the IRT1 Transporter Controls Iron Uptake in Plants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 108 (32) : 450-458
[ Link to pdf ]

- Roschzttardtz H., Séguéla-Arnaud M., Briat J.F., Vert G., and Curie C. (2011) The FRD3 Citrate Effluxer Promotes Iron Nutrition Between Symplastically Disconnected Tissues Throughout Arabidopsis Development. Plant Cell 23 (7) 2725-2737
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Roschzttardtz H., Grillet L., Isaure M.P., Conéjéro G., Ortega R., Curie C., Mari S. (2011) The Plant Cell Nucleolus as a Hot Spot for Iron. J. Biol. Chem. 286 (32): 27863-27866
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Cailliatte R, Schikora A, Briat JF, Mari S, Curie C. (2010) High-affinity Mn uptake by AtNRAMP1 is essential for plant growth in low manganese. Plant Cell, 22(3) : 904-17
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Roschzttardtz H, Conéjéro G, Curie C, Mari S. (2009) Identification of the endodermal vacuole as the iron storage compartment in the Arabidopsis embryo. Plant Physiol. 151(3):1329-38
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Curie C., Cassin G., Couch D., Divol F., Higuchi K. Le Jean M., Misson J., Schikora A., Czernic P., Mari S. (2009) Metal movement within the plant: contribution of nicotianamine and yellow stripe 1-like transporters. Ann. Bot. 103(1):1-11
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Séguéla M., Briat J.F., Vert G. & Curie C. 2008 Cytokinins negatively regulate the root iron uptake machinery in Arabidopsis through a growth-dependent pathway. Plant J., 55, 289-300
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Briat J.F., Curie C. & Gaymard F. (2007) Iron utilization and metabolism in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 10, 276-282
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Le Jean M., Schikora A., Mari S., Briat J.F., & Curie C. (2005) A loss-of-function mutation in AtYSL1 reveals its role in iron and nicotianamine seed loading. Plant J. 44 (5), 769
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Curie C. & Briat J.F. (2003) Iron transport and signaling in plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 54, 183-206
[ Link to ]

- Vert G., Grotz N., Dédaldechamp F., Gaymard F., Guérinot M.L., Briat J.F., & Curie C. IRT1, an Arabidopsis transporter essential for iron uptake from the soil and plant growth. Plant Cell. 14, 1223-1233
[ Link to Pubmed ]

- Curie C., Panaviene Z., Loulergue C., Dellaporta S.L., Briat J.F., & Walker E.L. (2001) Maize yellow stripe 1 encodes a membrane protein directly involved in Fe(III) uptake Nature 409, 346-349
[ Link to Pubmed ]

More publications >>


Permanent staff
Leon Dirick
Stéphane Mari
Odile Richard
Tou Cheu Xiong
Carine Alcon
Sandrine Chay
Stéphanie Loubet
UM2 - TR
Graduate students and postdocs
Hai Le Minh
David Correia
Diego Melo Almeida