AtHMA1 is a thapsigargin-sensitive Ca2+/heavy metal pump

Ignacio Moreno, Lorena Norambuena, Daniel Maturana, Mauricio Toro, Cecilia Vergara, Ariel Orellana, Andrés Zurita-Silva, Viviana R. Ordenes

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116 Citations (Scopus)


The Arabidopsis thaliana AtHMA1 protein is a member of the PIB-ATPase family, which is implicated in heavy metal transport. However, sequence analysis reveals that AtHMA1 possesses a predicted stalk segment present in SERCA (sarcoplasmic/ endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase)-type pumps that is involved in inhibition by thapsigargin. To analyze the ion specificity of AtHMA1, we performed functional complementation assays using mutant yeast strains defective in Ca2+ homeostasis or heavy metal transport. The heterologous expression of AtHMA1 complemented the phenotype of both types of mutants and, interestingly, increased heavy metal tolerance of wildtype yeast. Biochemical analyses were performed to describe the activity of AtHMA1 in microsomal fractions isolated from complemented yeast. Zinc, copper, cadmium, and cobalt activate the ATPase activity of AtHMA1, which corroborates the results of metal tolerance assays. The outcome establishes the role of AtHMA1 in Cd2+ detoxification in yeast and suggests that this pump is able to transport other heavy metals ions. Further analyses were performed to typify the active Ca2+ transport mediated by AtHMA1. Ca2+ transport displayed high affinity with an apparent Km of 370 nM and a V max of 1.53 nmol mg-1 min-1. This activity was strongly inhibited by thapsigargin (IC50 = 16.74 nM), demonstrating the functionality of its SERCA-like stalk segment. In summary, these results demonstrate that AtHMA1 functions as a Ca2+/heavy metal pump. This protein is the first described plant P-type pump specifically inhibited by thapsigargin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9633-9641
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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