Plant and Soil

, Volume 401, Issue 1–2, pp 197–212 | Cite as

Proteomic analysis of Allium cepa var. agrogarum L. roots under copper stress

  • Rong Qin
  • Chanjuan Ning
  • Lars O. Björn
  • Shaoshan Li
Regular Article



In the present study, the effects of Cu (2.0 and 8.0 μM) on root growth of Allium cepa var. agrogarum L. were addressed and protein abundance levels were analyzed using the technology of proteomics combined with transcriptomics, in order to go deeper into the understanding of the mechanism of Cu toxicity on plant root systems at the protein level and to provide valuable information for monitoring and forecasting the effects of exposure to Cu in real scenarios conditions.


Protein extraction; Two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) analysis; Mass spectrometry analysis; Establishment of the in-house database; Restriction enzyme map of the in-house database and protein identification.


Root growth was dramatically inhibited after 12 h Cu treatment. By establishing an in-house database and using mass spectrometry analysis, 27 differentially abundant proteins were identified. These 27 proteins were involved in multiple biological processes including defensive response, transcription regulation and protein synthesis, cell wall synthesis, cell cycle and DNA replication, and other important functions.


Our results provide new insights at the proteomic level into the Cu-induced responses, defensive responses and toxic effects, and provide new molecular markers of the early events of plant responses to Cu toxicity. Moreover, the establishment of an in-house database provides a big improvement for proteomics research on non-model plants.


Cu Allium cepa var. agrogarumProteomics Transcriptomics Defensive responses Toxic effects 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31070242), the Leading Scientists Project of Guangdong Province, the Guangdong Pearl River Scholar Funded Scheme (2012), the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (20114407110006), the Science and Technology Program of Guangzhou, China (2014J4100053) and the Scientific Research Foundation of Graduate School of South China Normal University (2012kyjj114). The authors are grateful to Dr. Rachel Naele (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia), Dr. Andy McLeod (The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK) and Prof. John Richard Schrock (Emporia State University, Kansas, USA) for language revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rong Qin
    • 1
  • Chanjuan Ning
    • 1
  • Lars O. Björn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shaoshan Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Science in Guangdong Higher Education, School of Life ScienceSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Molecular Cell BiologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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