Cadmium decreases crown root number by decreasing endogenous nitric oxide, which is indispensable for crown root primordia initiation in rice seedlings

Jie Xiong, Han Lu, Kaixing Lu, Yuxing Duan, Lingyao An, Cheng Zhu
Planta 2009, 230 (4): 599-610
Cadmium (Cd) is toxic to crown roots (CR), which are essential for maintaining normal growth and development in rice seedlings. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that plays a pivotal role in plant root organogenesis. Here, the effects of Cd on endogenous NO content and root growth conditions were studied in rice seedlings. Results showed that similar to the NO scavenger, cPTIO, Cd significantly decreased endogenous NO content and CR number in rice seedlings, and these decreases were recoverable with the application of sodium nitroprusside (SNP, a NO donor). Microscopic analysis of root collars revealed that treatment with Cd and cPTIO inhibited CR primordia initiation. In contrast, although SNP partially recovered Cd-caused inhibition of CR elongation, treatment with cPTIO had no effect on CR elongation. L: -NMMA, a widely used nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, decreased endogenous NO content and CR number significantly, while tungstate, a nitrate reductase (NR) inhibitor, had no effect on endogenous NO content and CR number. Moreover, enzyme activity assays indicated that treatment with SNP inhibited NOS activity significantly, but had no effect on NR activity. All these results support the conclusions that a critical endogenous NO concentration is indispensable for rice CR primordia initiation rather than elongation, NOS is the main source for endogenous NO generation, and Cd decreases CR number by inhibiting NOS activity and thus decreasing endogenous NO content in rice seedlings.

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