A putative rice l-cysteine desulfhydrase encodes a true l-cysteine synthase that regulates plant cadmium tolerance

  • Jie Shen
  • Ye Su
  • Can Zhou
  • Feng Zhang
  • Heng Zhou
  • Xin Liu
  • Deliang Wu
  • Xianchao Yin
  • Yanjie XieEmail author
  • Xingxing YuanEmail author
Original paper


Recent years have witnessed tremendous progress in understanding the biological relevance of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as the third gasotransmitter for multiple signaling events in plants. l-Cys desulfhydrase (LCD) catalyzes the formation of H2S by using l-Cys as a substrate. In previous studies, we detected LCD activity in rice, but the corresponding genetic information and its biological function in the alleviation of plant Cd toxicity are still unknown. In this study, a putative LCD gene (OsLCD2) with high homology to Arabidopsis LCD has been cloned in rice. Surprisingly, the biochemical characterization of the recombinant OsLCD2 protein suggests that this protein predominantly possesses cysteine synthesis activity rather than the degradation of cysteine to produce H2S, and thus, the gene has been renamed OsCS1. OsCS1 localizes inside the nucleus in rice protoplasts. Molecular evidence shows that OsCS1 mRNA is ubiquitously expressed in rice, and up-regulated by cadmium. It has been further observed that over-expression of OsCS1 in Arabidopsis results in the enhanced glutathione biosynthesis, which allows plants to tolerate cadmium stress. Overall, the above findings provide evidence that OsCS1 is a potentially important enzyme responsible for the synthesis of cysteine, which could provide a new information about the metabolism of H2S in plants.


l-cysteine desulfhydrase Cysteine synthase Hydrogen sulfide Cadmium Glutathione 



This research was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670255), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (KYZ201859), Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (BK20161447). The authors sincerely thank Dr Cecilia Gotor from Instituto de Bioquímica Vegetal y Fotosíntesis, Spain and International Science Editing ( for kind help in editing the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3945 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Shen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ye Su
    • 1
    • 2
  • Can Zhou
    • 1
  • Feng Zhang
    • 1
  • Heng Zhou
    • 1
  • Xin Liu
    • 3
  • Deliang Wu
    • 4
  • Xianchao Yin
    • 4
  • Yanjie Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xingxing Yuan
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory Center of Life Sciences, College of Life SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Industrial CropsJiangsu Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology in Universities of Shandong Province, Life Science CollegeQingdao Agricultural UniversityQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Key Laboratory for Control Technology and Standard for Agro-product Safety and Quality, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Institute of Food Safety and NutritionJiangsu Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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