Phytochelatin synthase of Thlaspi caerulescens enhanced tolerance and accumulation of heavy metals when expressed in yeast and tobacco

Ge-Yu Liu, Yu-Xiu Zhang, Tuan-Yao Chai
Plant Cell Reports 2011, 30 (6): 1067-76
Phytochelatin synthase (PCS) is key enzyme for heavy metal detoxification and accumulation in plant. In this study, we isolated the PCS gene TcPCS1 from the hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens. Overexpression of TcPCS1 enhanced PC production in tobacco. Cd accumulation in the roots and shoots of TcPCS1 transgenic seedlings was increased compared to the wild type (WT), while Cd translocation from roots to shoots was not affected under Cd treatment. The root length of the TcPCS1 transgenic tobacco seedlings was significantly longer than that of the WT under Cd stress. These data indicate that TcPCS1 expression might increase Cd accumulation and tolerance in transgenic tobacco. In addition, the malondialdehyde content in TcPCS1 plants was below that of the wild type. However, the antioxidant enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and catalase were found to be significantly higher than those of the WT when the transgenic plant was exposed to Cd stress. This suggests that the increase in PC production might enhance the Cd accumulation and thus increase the oxidative stress induced by the cadmium. The production of PCs could cause a transient decrease in the cytosolic glutathione (GSH) pool, and Cd and lower GSH concentration caused an increase in the oxidative response. We also determined TcPCS1 in Thlaspi caerulescens was regulated after exposure to various concentrations of CdCl(2) over different treatment times. Expression of TcPCS1 leading to increased Cd accumulation and enhanced metal tolerance, but the Cd contents were restrained by adding zinc in Saccharomyces cerevisiae transformants.

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