Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 160, Issue 3, pp 945–963

Phytochelatins: Peptides Involved in Heavy Metal Detoxification


DOI: 10.1007/s12010-009-8565-4

Cite this article as:
Pal, R. & Rai, J.P.N. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2010) 160: 945. doi:10.1007/s12010-009-8565-4


Phytochelatins (PCs) are enzymatically synthesized peptides known to involve in heavy metal detoxification and accumulation, which have been measured in plants grown at high heavy metal concentrations, but few studies have examined the response of plants even at lower environmentally relevant metal concentrations. Recently, genes encoding the enzyme PC synthase have been identified in plants and other species enabling molecular biological studies to untangle the mechanisms underlying PC synthesis and its regulation. The present paper embodies review on recent advances in structure of PCs, their biosynthetic regulation, roles in heavy metal detoxification and/or accumulation, and PC synthase gene expression for better understanding of mechanism involved and to improve phytoremediation efficiency of plants for wider application.


Heavy metalsPhytochelatinsVacuolar sequestrationSulfide ions

Copyright information

© Humana Press 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecotechnology Laboratory, Department of Environmental ScienceG.B.Pant. University of Agriculture and TechnologyPantnagarIndia