, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1285–1293 | Cite as

Mercury-induced oxidative stress and impact on antioxidant enzymes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

  • Abdelrahman Elbaz
  • Yuan Yuan Wei
  • Qian Meng
  • Qi Zheng
  • Zhi Min Yang


Investigation of mercury toxicology in green algae is of great importance from ecological point of view, because mercury has become a major contaminant in recent years. In higher plants, accumulation of mercury modifies many aspects of cellular functions. However, the process that mercury exerts detrimental effects on green algae is largely unknown. In this study, we performed an experiment focusing on the biological responses of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular model organism, to Hg2+-induced toxicity. C. reinhardtii was exposed to 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 μM Hg in media. Concentrations of Hg were negatively correlated with the cell growth. Treatment with Hg induced accumulation of reactive oxygen species and peroxidative products. Endogenous proline levels increased in Hg-exposed algae. Hg exposure activated superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX). To get insights into the molecular response, a RT-PCR-based assay was performed to analyze the transcript abundance of Mn-SOD, CAT and APX. Our analysis revealed that expression of the genes was up-regulated by Hg exposure, with a pattern similar to the enzyme activities. Additional investigation was undertaken on the effect of Hg on the transcript amount of ∆1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase, a key enzyme of proline biosynthesis and on that of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an enzyme regulating heavy metal tolerance. Expressions of both P5CS and HO-1 were up-regulated by Hg. These data indicate that Hg-induced oxidative stress was responsible for the disturbance of the growth and antioxidant defensive systems in C. reinhardtii.


Mercury Oxidative stress Chlamydomonas reinhardtii 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (20877041) and National Foundation for Fostering Talents of Basic Science (J0730647).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdelrahman Elbaz
    • 1
  • Yuan Yuan Wei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qian Meng
    • 1
  • Qi Zheng
    • 1
  • Zhi Min Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Life ScienceNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Key Lab of Marine Biology in Jiang SuNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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