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Transgenic Res. 2010 Feb;19(1):91-103. doi: 10.1007/s11248-009-9296-6. Epub 2009 Jun 20.

Spermidine levels are implicated in heavy metal tolerance in a spermidine synthase overexpressing transgenic European pear by exerting antioxidant activities.

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National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8605, Japan.


To verify whether spermidine synthase (SPDS) can confer long-term multi-heavy metal tolerance, in vitro shoots of a transgenic European pear (Pyrus communis L. 'Ballad') line #32 overexpressing apple SPDS (MdSPDS1), as well as a wild type (WT) line, were subjected to stress using either CdCl(2), PbCl(2), ZnCl(2), or a combination thereof. Based on either shoot height increment or fresh weight and morphological changes upon heavy metal stress, the performance of the transgenic line #32 was better than that of WT. Although SPDS expression levels and spermidine (Spd) contents in line #32 were higher than those in WT, possibly due to transgene (MdSPDS1) expression, no obvious inductions of SPDS expression and increases in Spd-content were observed by long-term stress treatments in both lines. When the glutathione (GSH) content was compared with or without stress in each line, GSH was significantly depleted in line #32 with stress, but not as much as in WT. The activities of glutathione reductase and superoxide dismutase and the content of malondialdehyde, an indicator for lipid peroxidation, changed upon stress toward a more favorable status for survival in line #32 than in WT. These antioxidant parameters were positively related to Spd-content. The accumulation of heavy metals tended to be less in line #32 than in WT except for Zn stress, and the Ca content showed an opposite trend. These results suggest that Spd-levels are implicated in enhanced heavy metal tolerance, possibly by exerting an antioxidant activity as well as by the properties of Spd per se including metal chelator.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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