Nour-Eldin HH, Andersen TG, Burow M, Madsen SR, Jørgensen ME, Olsen CE, Dreyer I, Hedrich R, Geiger D, Halkier BA (2012) NRT/PTR transporters are essential for translocation of glucosinolate defence compounds to seeds. Nature 488: 531–534.
In plants, transport processes are important for the reallocation of defence compounds to protect tissues of high value, as demonstrated in the plant model Arabidopsis, in which the major defence compounds, glucosinolates, are translocated to seeds on maturation. The molecular basis for long-distance transport of glucosinolates and other defence compounds, however, remains unknown. Here we identify and characterize two members of the nitrate/peptide transporter family, GTR1 and GTR2, as high-affinity, proton-dependent glucosinolate-specific transporters. The gtr1 gtr2 double mutant did not accumulate glucosinolates in seeds and had more than tenfold over-accumulation in source tissues such as leaves and silique walls, indicating that both plasma membrane-localized transporters are essential for long-distance transport of glucosinolates. We propose that GTR1 and GTR2 control the loading of glucosinolates from the apoplasm into the phloem. Identification of the glucosinolate transporters has agricultural potential as a means to control allocation of defence compounds in a tissue-specific manner.