Role of C-terminal Cys-rich Region of Phytochelatin Synthase in Tolerance to Cadmium Ion Toxicity

  • Sachiko Matsumoto
  • Mun’delanji Vestergaard
  • Takafumi Konishi
  • Shingo Nishikori
  • Kentaro Shiraki
  • Naoki Tsuji
  • Kazumasa Hirata
  • Masahiro Takagi


Phytochelatins (PCs) are Cys-rich peptides, synthesized by PC synthase in response to heavy metal ions. The C-terminal Cys-rich region of the PC synthase has homology with functional domains of metallochaperone, metallothionein and thioredoxin. To test the possibility that the C-terminal Cys-rich region of PC synthase has a role in regulating PC synthesis, we introduced point mutations into the PC synthase, replacing Cys358, Cys359 Cys363 and Cys366 residues with Ala. The mutant PC synthase had a lower PC synthesis ability than the wild-type enzyme. Further, oxidative conditions severely damaged mutant PC synthase whilst the wild-type enzyme suffered less damage, suggesting that the Cys-rich region of PC synthase may play an important role in anti-oxidation activity. Although the C-terminal of PC synthase is not conserved, our studies support the possibility that this region performs several important biological functions.

Key words

phytochelatins phytochelatin synthase Arabidopsis thaliana cadmium heavy metals cysteine (Cys) C-terminal antioxidant toxicity 







Luria broth


methyl viologen




5,5′-dithiobis-2-nitrobenzoic acid


high-performance liquid chromatography


reactive oxygen species


nitric oxide


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sachiko Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Mun’delanji Vestergaard
    • 1
  • Takafumi Konishi
    • 1
  • Shingo Nishikori
    • 2
  • Kentaro Shiraki
    • 3
  • Naoki Tsuji
    • 4
  • Kazumasa Hirata
    • 4
  • Masahiro Takagi
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Materials ScienceJapan Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyNomi City, IshikawaJapan
  2. 2.Division of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Embryology and GeneticsKumamoto UniversityKumamotoJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Applied PhysicsUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Bioengineering Laboratory, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan

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