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Plant Physiol. 2004 Feb;134(2):748-57.

Tissue- and age-dependent differences in the complexation of cadmium and zinc in the cadmium/zinc hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens (Ganges ecotype) revealed by x-ray absorption spectroscopy.

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  • 1Universität Konstanz, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Sektion, Fachbereich Biologie, Postfach M665, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Extended x-ray absorption fine structure measurements were performed on frozen hydrated samples of the cadmium (Cd)/zinc (Zn) hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens (Ganges ecotype) after 6 months of Zn(2+) treatment with and without addition of Cd(2+). Ligands depended on the metal and the function and age of the plant tissue. In mature and senescent leaves, oxygen ligands dominated. This result combined with earlier knowledge about metal compartmentation indicates that the plants prefer to detoxify hyperaccumulated metals by pumping them into vacuoles rather than to synthesize metal specific ligands. In young and mature tissues (leaves, petioles, and stems), a higher percentage of Cd was bound by sulfur (S) ligands (e.g. phytochelatins) than in senescent tissues. This may indicate that young tissues require strong ligands for metal detoxification in addition to the detoxification by sequestration in the epidermal vacuoles. Alternatively, it may reflect the known smaller proportion of epidermal metal sequestration in younger tissues, combined with a constant and high proportion of S ligands in the mesophyll. In stems, a higher proportion of Cd was coordinated by S ligands and of Zn by histidine, compared with leaves of the same age. This may suggest that metals are transported as stable complexes or that the vacuolar oxygen coordination of the metals is, like in leaves, mainly found in the epidermis. The epidermis constitutes a larger percentage of the total volume in leaves than in stems and petioles. Zn-S interaction was never observed, confirming earlier results that S ligands are not involved in Zn resistance of hyperaccumulator plants.

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