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Plant Physiol. 2001 May;126(1):299-306.

Phytochelatins are involved in differential arsenate tolerance in Holcus lanatus.

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  • 1Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Merlewood, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6JU, United Kingdom.


Arsenate tolerance is conferred by suppression of the high-affinity phosphate/arsenate uptake system, which greatly reduces arsenate influx in a number of higher plant species. Despite this suppressed uptake, arsenate-tolerant plants can still accumulate high levels of As over their lifetime, suggesting that constitutive detoxification mechanisms may be required. Phytochelatins are thiol-rich peptides, whose production is induced by a range of metals and metalloids including arsenate. This study provides evidence for the role of phytochelatins in the detoxification of arsenate in arsenate-tolerant Holcus lanatus. Elevated levels of phytochelatin were measured in plants with a range of tolerance to arsenate at equivalent levels of arsenate stress, measured as inhibition of root growth. The results suggest that arsenate tolerance in H. lanatus requires both adaptive suppression of the high-affinity phosphate uptake system and constitutive phytochelatin production.

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