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J Plant Physiol. 2011 Jul 15;168(11):1157-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2011.01.031. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Disarrangement of actin filaments and Ca²⁺ gradient by CdCl₂ alters cell wall construction in Arabidopsis thaliana root hairs by inhibiting vesicular trafficking.

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Key Laboratory of Photosynthesis and Molecular Environmental Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China.


Cadmium (Cd), one of the most toxic heavy metals, inhibits many cellular and physiological processes in plants. Here, the involvement of cytoplasmic Ca²⁺ gradient and actin filaments (AFs) in vesicular trafficking, cell wall deposition and tip growth was investigated during root (hair) development of Arabidopsis thaliana in response to CdCl₂ treatment. Seed germination and root elongation were prevented in a dose- and time-dependent manner by CdCl₂ treatment. Fluorescence labelling and non-invasive detection showed that CdCl₂ inhibited extracellular Ca²⁺ influx, promoted intracellular Ca²⁺ efflux, and disturbed the cytoplasmic tip-focused Ca²⁺ gradient. In vivo labelling revealed that CdCl₂ modified actin organization, which subsequently contributed to vesicle trafficking. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that CdCl₂ induced cytoplasmic vacuolization and was detrimental to organelles such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Finally, immunofluorescent labelling and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis indicated that configuration/distribution of cell wall components such as pectins and cellulose was significantly altered in response to CdCl₂. Our results indicate that CdCl₂ induces disruption of Ca²⁺ gradient and AFs affects the distribution of cell wall components in root hairs by disturbing vesicular trafficking in A. thaliana.

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