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Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 985–999 | Cite as

Heavy metal-induced oxidative damage, defense reactions, and detoxification mechanisms in plants

  • Oksana Sytar
  • Abhay Kumar
  • Dariusz Latowski
  • Paulina Kuczynska
  • Kazimierz Strzałka
  • M. N. V. Prasad
Review

Abstract

Heavy metal (HMs) contamination is widespread globally due to anthropogenic, technogenic, and geogenic activities. The HMs exposure could lead to multiple toxic effects in plants by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS), which inhibit most cellular processes at various levels of metabolism. ROS being highly unstable could play dual role (1) damaging cellular components and (2) act as an important secondary messenger for inducing plant defense system. Cells are equipped with enzymatic and non-enzymatic defense mechanisms to counteract this damage. Some are constitutive and others that are activated only when a stress-specific signal is perceived. Enzymatic scavengers of ROS include superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and peroxidase, while non-enzymatic antioxidants are glutathione, ascorbic acid, α-tocopherol, flavonoids, anthocyanins, carotenoids, and organic acids. The intracellular and extracellular chelation mechanisms of HMs are associated with organic acids such as citric, malic and oxalic acid, etc. The important mechanism of detoxification includes metal complexation with glutathione, amino acids, synthesis of phytochelatins and sequestration into the vacuoles. Excessive stresses induce a cascade, MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathway and synthesis of metal-detoxifying ligands. Metal detoxification through MAPK cascade and synthesis of metal-detoxifying ligands will be of considerable interest in the field of plant biotechnology. Further, the photoprotective roles of pigments of xanthophylls cycle under HMs stress were also discussed.

Keywords

Antioxidants Flavonoids Heavy metals MAPK pathway Oxidative stress Phenolic compounds Phytochelatins 

Abbreviations

AE

Accumulating ecotype

APX

Ascorbate peroxidases

AsA

Ascorbic acid

CAT

Catalase

Cys

Cysteine

DHA

Dehydroascorbate

ETC

Electron transport chain

Glu

Glutamine

Gly

Glycine

GR

Glutathione reductase

GSH

Glutathione (reduced)

GSSG

Glutathione (oxidized)

GST

Glutathione-S-transferase

HMs

Heavy metals

H2O2

Hydrogen peroxide

LOX

Lipoxygenase

LP

Lipid peroxidation

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

MAPKK

MAPK kinase

MAPKKK

MAPK kinase kinase

MDA

Malondialdehyde

MDHA

Monodehydroascorbate

NAD+

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (oxidized)

NADH

Reduced NAD

NADP+

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (oxidized)

NADPH

Reduced NADP

NAE

Non-accumulating ecotype

O2•−

Superoxide radical

PCs

Phytochelatins

PCS

Phytochelatins synthase

POD

Peroxidases

PSII

Photosystem II

PSI

Photosystem I

PUFA

Poly unsaturated fatty acids

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

SOD

Superoxide dismutase

SQDG

Sulfoquinovosyldiacyglycerol

Notes

Acknowledgments

O.S. gratefully acknowledges the award of 3-month research training scholarship by the Centre for International Co-operation in Science (CICS) (Formerly CCSTDS) Chennai, India, which was hosted by MNVP. A.K. gratefully acknowledges University of Hyderabad Research Scholarship through the University Grant Commission, New Delhi. M.N.V.P. gratefully acknowledge the award of Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, GOI, New Delhi (MoEF Ref. No. 17/3/2010-RE Dt 29-2-2012).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oksana Sytar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abhay Kumar
    • 1
  • Dariusz Latowski
    • 3
  • Paulina Kuczynska
    • 3
  • Kazimierz Strzałka
    • 3
  • M. N. V. Prasad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Physiology and EcologyKyiv National University of Taras ShevchenkoKyivUkraine
  3. 3.Departament of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and BiotechnologyJagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland

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