Project R-6403


Regulation of acute responses in cadmium-exposed Arabidopsis thaliana plants. From signal transduction to acclimation (Research)


Cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic compounds released into our environment by historical and present-day industrial and agricultural activities. Recent efforts regarding the use of plants to clean-up Cd-contaminated soils are often hampered by its phytotoxicity. Increasing our fundamental knowledge on the mechanisms that underlie toxic responses in Cd-exposed plants is of utmost importance to design or improve phytoremediation strategies. Previous research has individually assigned a primary role to the phytohormone ethylene, the antioxidative metabolite glutathione (GSH) and mitochondria in mediating the acute response of Arabidopsis thaliana plants to environmentally realistic Cd exposure. In the current proposal, the interplay between both compounds as well as their relation to the mitochondrial metabolism is studied using A. thaliana mutant genotypes affected in ethylene sensitivity or GSH content. Plants are grown using a validated hydroponic or rockwool cultivation setup for A. thaliana and exposed to 5 M Cd for 2, 24 or 72 h. Parameters related to ethylene, GSH and mitochondria are measured in roots and leaves separately to study tissue-specific responses over time. Finally, the involvement of these molecular players in plant acclimation to Cd exposure within and over generations is addressed using two complementary experimental settings. To integrate our research into a national and international network, different collaborations have been established.

Period of project

01 October 2015 - 31 May 2018