From root to leaf and back again: cadmium-induced interdependence of root and leaf responses related to glutathione and ethylene (Research)
Cadmium (Cd) is a major soil pollutant that poses risk to human health mainly via accumulation into the food chain. Although plants offer key possibilities to improve soil quality, Cd exposure severely impairs plant growth and results in premature death. Therefore, the main goal of this project is to contribute to the optimisation of phytoremediation strategies by gathering fundamental knowledge on mechanisms underlying Cd sensitivity in plants. As the interaction between root and shoot is important for the plant's survival under stress, it is of crucial importance to study Cd-induced responses in an inter-organ context. First of all, I will obtain a detailed view on the timing of root and leaf responses related to the antioxidant metabolite glutathione (GSH) and the plant hormone ethylene in Cd-exposed Arabidopsis thaliana plants using a kinetic exposure setup. Next, the influence of decreased ethylene and GSH production on the Cd-induced root and leaf responses is assessed by characterisation of biosynthesis mutants and inhibitor-treated plants. Based on these results, I will use grafting experiments to identify 1-aminocyclopropane 1-carboxylic acid (ACC), the direct precursor of ethylene, as possible root-to-shoot signal and to study the inter-organ dependence of GSH- and ethylene-related root and leaf responses.
Period of project
01 October 2017 - 30 September 2019