Early responses to cadmium exposure in barley plants: effects on biometric and physiological parameters
Cadmium represents one of the most toxic pollutants in plant ecosystems: at high concentrations it can cause severe effects, such as plant growth inhibition, decrease in photosynthesis and changes in plant basal metabolism. Changes in pigments’ content, RubisCO large subunit, and D1 protein indicated a severe reduction in photosynthetic efficiency. Furthermore, the decrease of nitrate reductase activity and changes in free amino acids levels show a general stress condition of nitrogen assimilation. Cadmium increased the activities of ROS scavenging enzymes; among these, ascorbate peroxidase rate was the most noticeably increased. It is worth noting that glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH; EC 126.96.36.199), showed changes in both activities and occurrence during cadmium stress. Interestingly, our data suggest that G6PDH would modulate redox homeostasis under metal exposure, and possibly satisfy the increased request of reductants to counteract the oxidative burst induced by cadmium. Therefore, the results suggest that APX and G6PDH may play a pivotal role to counteract the oxidative stress induced by cadmium in young barley plants.
KeywordsNitrate reductase G6PDH Amino acid levels Heat shock proteins APX RWC
The authors would like to thank very much Carmen Arena (Naples) for assistance in photosynthesis measurements and consulting; A. von Schaewen (Univ. of Munster, Germany) for the generous gift of potato G6PDH antisera. Thanks to Giorgia Capasso (University of Naples) for her help in activity measurements and Western blotting experiments. Research supported by Legge Regionale della Campania 5/2002 (2007), CUP E69D15000270002 to S.E.
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