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Plant Physiol. Aug 1990; 93(4): 1579–1584.
PMCID: PMC1062714

Regulation of Glutathione Synthesis by Cadmium in Pisum sativum L. 1

Abstract

In roots and shoots of pea plants (Pisum sativum L.) cultivated with CdCl2 concentrations up to 50 micromolar, growth, the content of total acid soluble thiols, and the activity of glutathione synthetase (EC 6.3.2.3) and of adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate sulfotransferase were measured. In addition, the occurrence of Cd-binding peptides (phytochelatins) and the contents of glutathione and cysteine were determined in roots of plants exposed to 20 micromolar Cd and/or 1 millimolar buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis. An appreciable increase in activity of glutathione synthetase at 20 and 50 micromolar Cd and of adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate sulfotransferase at 5 micromolar and higher Cd concentrations was detected in the roots. Most of the additional thiols formed due to Cd treatment were eluted from a gel filtration HPLC column together with Cd, indicating the presence of phytochelatins. In plants treated with buthionine sulfoximine and Cd, no phytochelatins could be detected but the cysteine content increased 21-fold. Additionally, a larger increase in both enzyme activities occurred than with Cd alone. Taken together, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that glutathione is a precursor for phytochelatin synthesis.

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Selected References

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