Role of Polyamines in Mediating Antioxidant Defense and Epigenetic Regulation in Plants Exposed to Heavy Metal Toxicity

  • Saikat Paul
  • Aditya Banerjee
  • Aryadeep Roychoudhury


'Heavy metal (HM) contamination in the soil due to the natural and anthropogenic activities is a matter of global concern in recent era of industrialization as it directly affects environment, human health and crop production. The HM toxicity causes oxidative damages which leads to serious disruption in plant growth and productivity. In recent times, extensive research has been carried out to elucidate the defense mechanism of plants against metal and metalloid toxicity. Plants have developed several adaptive strategies to deal with HM induced oxidative stress like accumulation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, osmolytes like proline and polyamines (PAs), which regulate normal growth and development of a plant surviving in metal contaminated urban and sub-urban areas. PAs such as spermine (Spm), spermidine (Spd) and putrescine (Put) are considered as growth substances as they play a pivotal role in plant development and stress tolerance. Exogenous application of higher PAs like Spm and Spd has been used in combating metal toxicity which appears to be a simple cost-effective method of generating stress tolerance. The exogenous PAs modulate an antioxidative pathway under HM stress which acts as an adaptive mechanism of plants to scavenge excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and prevent bioaccumulation of the same. The present chapter highlights past developments and recent trends in the field of HM toxicity research in plants, focusing on plant growth, development and physiological response of plants under HM induced oxidative stress, the role of PA and antioxidative defense pathways and the possible cross-talk between them. This study also highlights the ameliorative property and underlying epigenetic mechanisms of PAs to enhance tolerance trait of plants under HM stress.


Heavy metal Antioxidant Polyamine Priming Oxidative stress Plant tolerance Epigenetics 



The financial support from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, through the project [38(1387)/14/EMR-II] to Dr. Aryadeep Roychoudhury is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are thankful to University Grants Commission (UGC), Government of India, for providing Junior Research Fellowship to Saikat Paul and Aditya Banerjee.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saikat Paul
    • 1
  • Aditya Banerjee
    • 1
  • Aryadeep Roychoudhury
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologySt. Xavier’s College (Autonomous)KolkataIndia

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