Project R-10920


Cadmium-induced autophagy in Arabidopsis thaliana plants: Its involvement in accelerated senescence in mature leaves and acclimation in young ones (Research)


Cadmium (Cd) pollution affects many regions worldwide and reduces plant growth and accelerates leaf senescence. Autophagy, which causes cellular material degradation, contributes to nutrient remobilization from old to young organs during senescence. Moreover, it has an antioxidant function and enhances stress acclimation. While it is induced by Cd, its role and regulation require further investigation. The hypothesis of this project is that Cd-induced autophagy in Arabidopsis thaliana plants depends on reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ethylene, two players that are intertwined during Cd stress. This may contribute to senescence in mature leaves and protect young leaves. To investigate this, 19-day-old A. thaliana plants are exposed to 5 μM Cd and leaves of different developmental stages (young, intermediate, mature) are harvested after short- and long-term exposure to investigate signaling and acclimation, respectively. As senescence depends on leaf age, the first aim is to investigate how Cd-induced oxidative signaling, damage and senescence are affected in different leaves. Subsequently, Cd-induced autophagy and its role in senescence and acclimation are determined in leaves of different ages. Finally, the interconnection of Cd-induced autophagy to ethylene and ROS production and signaling is unraveled. This project provides insights that can be used to enhance plant tolerance to Cd and thereby also the use of plant-based strategies to validate metal-polluted soils.

Period of project

01 November 2020 - 31 October 2024