Low-affinity cation transporter (OsLCT1) regulates cadmium transport into rice grains

Shimpei Uraguchi, Takehiro Kamiya, Takuya Sakamoto, Koji Kasai, Yutaka Sato, Yoshiaki Nagamura, Akiko Yoshida, Junko Kyozuka, Satoru Ishikawa, Toru Fujiwara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

370 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulation of cadmium (Cd) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) grains poses a potential health problem, especially in Asia. Most Cd in rice grains accumulates through phloem transport, but the molecular mechanism of this transport has not been revealed. In this study, we identified a rice Cd transporter, OsLCT1, involved in Cd transport to the grains. OsLCT1-GFP was localized at the plasma membrane in plant cells, and OsLCT1 showed Cd efflux activity in yeast. In rice plants, strong OsLCT1 expression was observed in leaf blades and nodes during the reproductive stage. In the uppermost node, OsLCT1 transcripts were detected around large vascular bundles and in diffuse vascular bundles. RNAi-mediated knockdown of OsLCT1 did not affect xylem-mediated Cd transport but reduced phloem-mediated Cd transport. The knockdown plants of OsLCT1 accumulated approximately half as much Cd in the grains as did the control plants. The content of other metals in rice grains and plant growth were not negatively affected by OsLCT1 suppression. These results suggest that OsLCT1 functions at the nodes in Cd transport into grains and that in a standard japonica cultivar, the regulation of OsLCT1 enables the generation of "low-Cd rice" without negative effects on agronomical traits. These findings identify a transporter gene for phloem Cd transport in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20959-20964
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec 27


  • Food safety
  • Heavy metals


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