, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 95-103

Differential response of Cu,Zn superoxide dismutases in two pea cultivars during a short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide

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Pea cultivars Progress and Nugget have been shown previously to be differentially sensitive with respect to apparent photosynthesis in a short-term exposure to 0.8 μl/l SO2. One possible contributing factor to the relative insensitivity of apparent photosynthesis of Progress to SO2 is an increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities. We show here that both chloroplastic and cytoplastic Cu,Zn-SOD proteins increased in Progress on exposure to sulfur dioxide whereas both proteins decreased in Nugget. The increase in cytosolic Cu,Zn-SOD protein was greater than that of chloroplastic Cu,Zn-SOD protein. Using a gene-specific probe for the plastid SOD, northern blot analysis revealed an initial decrease in transcript abundance of the chloroplastic Cu,Zn-SOD gene in Progress on exposure to SO2 with an eventual recovery to pre-exposure levels. The transcript levels of the chloroplastic Cu,Zn-SOD decreased in Nugget over the time period of the exposure. These results suggest that a combination of translational and post-translational mechanisms may be involved in SO2-induced changes in cytosolic and plastidic Cu,Zn-SODs in pea.