Molecular Breeding

, 39:49 | Cite as

Root-specific expression of rice OsHMA3 reduces shoot cadmium accumulation in transgenic tobacco

  • Hailin Cai
  • Pengfei Xie
  • Weiai Zeng
  • Zhengguang Zhai
  • Wen Zhou
  • Zhong TangEmail author


Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic trace element released into the environment by anthropogenic activities. Its release threatens the growth of plants and contaminates the food chain. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) is a Cd accumulator, and tobacco smoking is a major source of Cd exposure for smoking people. In the present study, we generated transgenic tobacco plants expressing the rice heavy metal P-type ATPase 3 gene (OsHMA3) in the roots under the control of a novel root-specific promoter from a tobacco root extensin-like protein-coding gene (NtREL1). Transgenic plants showed significantly reduced Cd accumulation in the shoots in both hydroponic and soil pot experiments. Analysis of Cd concentration in xylem sap showed that the transgenic plants had significantly decreased root-to-shoot translocation of Cd relative to that of wild-type plants. Moreover, a significantly lower oxidative stress level under Cd stress was observed in the shoots of transgenic plants than in wild-type shoots. These results suggest that OsHMA3 can be expressed in tobacco plants and may be useful for developing tobacco varieties with a reduced capacity to accumulate Cd in the shoots, potentially reducing the risk of Cd exposure for smoking people.


Cadmium OsHMA3 Root-specific expression Tobacco Heavy metals 


Funding information

The study was funded by the Science Research Project of Hunan Tobacco Company (No. CYKJ2014-03) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (KYZ201873).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary Figure 1

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High resolution image (TIF 125 kb)
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ESM 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tobacco Production Technology CenterChangsha Branch of Hunan Tobacco CompanyChangshaChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

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