Project R-8697


Getting to the core of the cadmium-induced cellular signalling network in plants. Organ does matter (Research)


As one of the most toxic elements released into our environment, cadmium (Cd) represents a major risk to the environment and human health. The design of plant-based strategies to clean up Cd-polluted soils is often restricted by its phytotoxic character. Therefore, it is crucial to better understand the underlying mechanisms of Cd-induced plant responses and improve current cleanup methods. Previous research demonstrated different Cd-induced responses in roots versus leaves, emphasising the need to focus on each organ separately. Furthermore, crosstalk between individual responses related to glutathione (GSH), reactive oxygen species (ROS), phytohormones such as ethylene and jasmonate as well as organellar signalling becomes increasingly evident. Within the current "CadCell" project, we aim to reveal the acute Cd-induced cellular network of signalling responses and their interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana roots and leaves. Focus lies on two direct mediators of plant responses to Cd and their connection to other signalling responses using next-generation sequencing: (1) Cd detoxification by GSH and/or phytochelatins and (2) a Cu deficiency-like response mediated by the SPL7 transcription factor. In addition, the Cd-induced signalling circuitry is studied using genetic (mutants) and pharmacological methods, integrating responses at multiple biological levels. For this project, we can rely on a solid network of cooperating research groups within Flanders and beyond.

Period of project

01 January 2018 - 31 December 2021