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Role of peroxisomes in the oxidative injury induced by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in leaves of pea plants

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Biologia Plantarum


The role of peroxisomes in the oxidative injury induced by the auxin herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in leaves of pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants was studied. Applications of (2,4-D) on leaves or to root substrate increased the superoxide radical production in leaf peroxisomes. Foliar application also increased H2O2 contents in leaf peroxisomes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction was accompanied by oxidative stress, as shown by the changes in lipid peroxidation, protein carbonyls, total and protein thiols, and by the up-regulation of the activities of superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, catalase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and NADP+-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase. Foliar or root 2,4-D applications also induced senescence symptoms in pea leaf peroxisomes, as shown by the decrease of protein content and glycolate oxidase and hydroxypyruvate reductase activities, and by the increase of endopeptidase, xanthine oxidase, isocitrate lyase and acyl-CoA oxidase activities as well as of 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase and thiol-protease protein contents. 2,4-D did not induce proliferation of pea leaf peroxisomes but induced senescence-like morphological changes in these organelles. Results suggest that peroxisomes might contribute to 2,4-D toxicity in pea leaves by overproducing cell-damaging ROS and by participating actively in 2,4-D-induced leaf senescence.

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ascorbate peroxidase




protein carbonyls




2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid


endoproteolytic activity


4-d foliar treatment


glycolate oxidase


glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase


glutathione reductase


hydroxypyruvate reductase


NADP+-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase


isocitrate lyase


jasmonic acid


3 keto-acylCoA thiolase


leucine aminopeptidase


lipid peroxidation

O2 ·− :

superoxide radical


4-d root treatment


7-d root treatment


reactive oxygen species


superoxide dismutase




xanthine oxidase


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This work was supported by ERDF-cofinanced grants AGL2002-00988 and BIO-192 from the Ministry of Education and Science and Junta de Andalucía, respectively. I. McCarthy-Suárez wishes to acknowledge the Fundación Ramón Areces for a PhD fellowship. The valuable comments of Dr. J. Carbonell and Dr. M.A. Blázquez, Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, CSIC-UPV, Valencia, Spain, are also appreciated.

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McCarthy-Suárez, I., Gómez, M., Del Río, L.A. et al. Role of peroxisomes in the oxidative injury induced by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in leaves of pea plants. Biol Plant 55, 485–492 (2011).

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