Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 373–389 | Cite as

Selenium uptake, translocation, assimilation and metabolic fate in plants

Review

Abstract

The chemical and physical resemblance between selenium (Se) and sulfur (S) establishes that both these elements share common metabolic pathways in plants. The presence of isologous Se and S compounds indicates that these elements compete in biochemical processes that affect uptake, translocation and assimilation throughout plant development. Yet, minor but crucial differences in reactivity and other metabolic interactions infer that some biochemical processes involving Se may be excluded from those relating to S. This review examines the current understanding of physiological and biochemical relationships between S and Se metabolism by highlighting their similarities and differences in relation to uptake, transport and assimilation pathways as observed in Se hyperaccumulator and non-accumulator plant species. The exploitation of genetic resources used in bioengineering strategies of plants is illuminating the function of sulfate transporters and key enzymes of the S assimilatory pathway in relation to Se accumulation and final metabolic fate. These strategies are providing the basic framework by which to resolve questions relating to the essentiality of Se in plants and the mechanisms utilized by Se hyperaccumulators to circumvent toxicity. In addition, such approaches may assist in the future application of genetically engineered Se accumulating plants for environmental renewal and human health objectives.

Keywords

APS reductase ATP sulfurylase S-methylcysteine Se-methylselenocysteine selenocysteine methyltransferase sulfur volatilization 

Abbreviations

APR

APS reductase

APS

adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate

APSe

adenosine 5'-phosphoselenate

CGS

cystathionine-γ-synthase

Cys

cysteine

Cysth

cystathionine

DMS

dimethylsulfide

DMSe

dimethylselenide

DMDSe

dimethyldiselenide

DMSeP

dimethylselenoniopropionate

GGMeCys

γ-glutamyl-S-methylcysteine

GGMeSeCys

γ-glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine

GPX

glutathione peroxidase

GSH

glutathione

HMT

homocysteine methyltransferase

Hocys

homocysteine

MeCys

S-methylcysteine;

MeSeCys

Se-methylselenocysteine

Met

methionine

MMT

S-adenosyl-L-methionine-L-methionine S-methyltransferase

OAS

O-acetyl-L-serine

OAS-TL

OAS thiol-lyase

S

sulfur

SAT

serine acetyltransferase

Se

selenium

SECIS

SeCys insertion sequence

SeCys

selenocysteine

Secysth

selenocystathionine

Sehocys

selenohomocysteine

SeMet

selenomethionine

SMM

S-methylmethionine

SMT

selenocysteine methyltransferase

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Center for Plant Environmental Stress PhysiologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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