Effect of selenium on the subcellular distribution of cadmium and oxidative stress induced by cadmium in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

  • Yanan Wan
  • Kang Wang
  • Zhe Liu
  • Yao Yu
  • Qi Wang
  • Huafen LiEmail author
Research Article


Cadmium (Cd) is absorbed readily by rice plants and is transferred to humans when contaminated rice is consumed. Adding selenium (Se) to the plant nutrient solutions reduces the accumulation of Cd in the rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings. However, as the relevant underlying mechanism remains unclear, the aim of our study was to improve our understanding of the Se-mediated resistance to Cd stress in rice. We conducted hydroponic experiments to study the effects of selenite or selenate on Cd subcellular distribution and xylem transport in rice seedlings under Cd stress, and we investigated the antioxidative defense responses in the rice plants. We found that the supplementation of both Se forms decreased the Cd accumulations in the roots and shoots of the rice plants. The selenite addition significantly decreased the Cd contents in different subcellular fractions of the rice roots, increased the proportion of Cd distributed to soluble cytosol by 23.41%, and decreased the Cd distribution in the organelle by 28.74% in contrast with the treatment with Cd only. As regards the selenate addition, only the Cd distribution ratio of cytosol was increased by 13.07%. After adding selenite, a decrease of 55.86% in the Cd concentration in xylem sap was observed, whereas little change was found after treatment co-applied with selenate. The hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde(MDA) contents in the rice roots were elevated under Cd stress, and the addition of selenite and selenate decreased the H2O2 levels by 77.78% and 59.26%, respectively. Co-exposure to Cd and Se elevated the glutathione (GSH) accumulations in the rice shoots and roots, with the degree of increase being the following: co-applied with selenite > co-applied with selenate > Cd alone treatment. Exposure to Cd increased the catalase (CAT) activity in the roots significantly, whereas it decreased in the shoots. After selenite or selenate supplementation, the CAT activity in the rice roots increased compared with applying only Cd. Compared with the control, the addition of Cd or Se had no significant effect on the activities of peroxidase (POD) or ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Our results showed that Se affected the Cd accumulation in rice seedlings by altering the Cd subcellular distribution and decreasing the ROS induced by Cd stress. Such effects were more significant in the selenite than in the selenate applied treatment.


Rice Cadmium Selenium Subcellular distribution Oxidative stress 


Funding information

This work was supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41471271).

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Farmland Soil Pollution Prevention and Remediation, Key Laboratory of Plant-Soil Interactions of the Ministry of Education, College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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