Cadmium-induced ethylene production and responses in **Arabidopsis thaliana** rely on ACS2 and ACS6 gene expressionCadmium-induced ethylene production and responses in **Arabidopsis thaliana** rely on ACS2 and ACS6 gene expression
Straeten, Van Der, Dominique
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology Research (IMPRES)
BMC plant biology. - London
14(2014), 14 p.
University of Antwerp
Background Anthropogenic activities cause metal pollution worldwide. Plants can absorb and accumulate these metals through their root system, inducing stress as a result of excess metal concentrations inside the plant. Ethylene is a regulator of multiple plant processes, and is affected by many biotic and abiotic stresses. Increased ethylene levels have been observed after exposure to excess metals but it remains unclear how the increased ethylene levels are achieved at the molecular level. In this study, the effects of cadmium (Cd) exposure on the production of ethylene and its precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), and on the expression of the ACC Synthase (ACS) and ACC Oxidase (ACO) multigene families were investigated in Arabidopsis thaliana. Results Increased ethylene release after Cd exposure was directly measurable in a system using rockwool-cultivated plants; enhanced levels of the ethylene precursor ACC together with higher mRNA levels of ethylene responsive genes: ACO2, ETR2 and ERF1 also indicated increased ethylene production in hydroponic culture. Regarding underlying mechanisms, it was found that the transcript levels of ACO2 and ACO4, the most abundantly expressed members of the ACO multigene family, were increased upon Cd exposure. ACC synthesis is the rate-limiting step in ethylene biosynthesis, and transcript levels of both ACS2 and ACS6 showed the highest increase and became the most abundant isoforms after Cd exposure, suggesting their importance in the Cd-induced increase of ethylene production. Conclusions Cadmium induced the biosynthesis of ACC and ethylene in Arabidopsis thaliana plants mainly via the increased expression of ACS2 and ACS6. This was confirmed in the acs2-1acs6-1 double knockout mutants, which showed a decreased ethylene production, positively affecting leaf biomass and resulting in a delayed induction of ethylene responsive gene expressions without significant differences in Cd contents between wild-type and mutant plants.