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Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 5;5:8842. doi: 10.1038/srep08842.

Selective chemical binding enhances cesium tolerance in plants through inhibition of cesium uptake.

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RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, 1-7-22 Suehirocho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan.
MEMPHYS, Center for BioMembrane Physics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, Odense M 5230, Denmark.


High concentrations of cesium (Cs(+)) inhibit plant growth but the detailed mechanisms of Cs(+) uptake, transport and response in plants are not well known. In order to identify small molecules with a capacity to enhance plant tolerance to Cs(+), chemical library screening was performed using Arabidopsis. Of 10,000 chemicals tested, five compounds were confirmed as Cs(+) tolerance enhancers. Further investigation and quantum mechanical modelling revealed that one of these compounds reduced Cs(+) concentrations in plants and that the imidazole moiety of this compound bound specifically to Cs(+). Analysis of the analogous compounds indicated that the structure of the identified compound is important for the effect to be conferred. Taken together, Cs(+) tolerance enhancer isolated here renders plants tolerant to Cs(+) by inhibiting Cs(+) entry into roots via specific binding to the ion thus, for instance, providing a basis for phytostabilisation of radiocesium-contaminated farmland.

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