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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2012 May;146(2):246-55. doi: 10.1007/s12011-011-9244-1. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

Reactive oxygen species formation and cell death in catalase-deficient tobacco leaf discs exposed to paraquat.

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  • 1Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Junín 956, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In the present work, the response of tobacco (Nicotiana tabaccum L.) wild-type SR1 and transgenic CAT1AS plants (with a basal reduced CAT activity) was evaluated after exposure to the herbicide paraquat (PQ). Superoxide anion (O (2) (.-) ) formation was inhibited at 3 or 21 h of exposure, but H(2)O(2) production and ion leakage increased significantly, both in SR1 or CAT1AS leaf discs. NADPH oxidase activity was constitutively 57% lower in non-treated transgenic leaves than in SR1 leaves and was greatly reduced both at 3 or 21 h of PQ treatment. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was significantly reduced by PQ after 21 h, showing a decrease from 70% to 55%, whereas catalase (CAT) activity decreased an average of 50% after 3 h of treatment, and of 90% after 21 h, in SR1 and CAT1AS, respectively. Concomitantly, total CAT protein content was shown to be reduced in non-treated CAT1AS plants compared to control SR1 leaf discs at both exposure times. PQ decreased CAT expression in SR1 or CAT1AS plants at 3 and 21 h of treatment. The mechanisms underlying PQ-induced cell death were possibly not related exclusively to ROS formation and oxidative stress in tobacco wild-type or transgenic plants.

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