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Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2019 Mar 31. doi: 10.1111/plb.12991. [Epub ahead of print]

Functional characterisation of two phytochelatin synthases in rice (Oryza sativa cv. Milyang 117) that respond to cadmium stress.

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Division of Ecological Conservation, Bureau of Ecological Research, National Institute of Ecology, Seocheon, Republic of Korea.
Division of Applied Life Science (BK21 Plus Program), Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Research Center, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Republic of Korea.
Faculty of Biotechnology, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Biological Resource Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Jeongeup, Republic of Korea.


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic heavy metals and a non-essential element to all organisms, including plants; however, the genes involved in Cd resistance in plants remain poorly characterised. To identify Cd resistance genes in rice, we screened a rice cDNA expression library treated with CdCl2 using a yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) mutant ycf1 strain (DTY167) and isolated two rice phytochelatin synthases (OsPCS5 and OsPCS15). The genes were strongly induced by Cd treatment and conferred increased resistance to Cd when expressed in the ycf1 mutant strain. In addition, the Cd concentration was twofold higher in yeast expressing OsPCS5 and OsPCS15 than in vector-transformed yeast, and OsPCS5 and OsPCS15 localised in the cytoplasm. Arabidopsis thaliana plants overexpressing OsPCS5/-15 paradoxically exhibited increased sensitivity to Cd, suggesting that overexpression of OsPCS5/-15 resulted in toxicity due to excess phytochelatin production in A. thaliana. These data indicate that OsPCS5 and OsPCS15 are involved in Cd tolerance, which may be related to the relative abundances of phytochelatins synthesised by these phytochelatin synthases.


Oryza sativa ; Cadmium; YCF1; heavy metal tolerance; phytochelatin synthase


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