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Molecules 2016, 21(10), 1339;

Thymol Mitigates Cadmium Stress by Regulating Glutathione Levels and Reactive Oxygen Species Homeostasis in Tobacco Seedlings

5,6,* and 5,6,*
College of Tobacco Science, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China
Nanjing Yangzi Modern Agriculture Investment and Development Co. Ltd., Nanjing 211899, China
Central Laboratory, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Science, Nanjing 210014, China
Department of Food Science, Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Xinxiang 453003, China
Institute of Food Quality and Safety, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing 210014, China
Key Laboratory of Food Quality and Safety of Jiangsu Province-State Key Laboratory Breeding Base, Jiangsu Provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Nanjing 210014, China
These authors contribute equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Derek J. McPhee
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 1 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products Chemistry)
Full-Text   |   PDF [5095 KB, uploaded 14 October 2016]   |  


Thymol is a famous plant-derived compound that has been widely used in pharmacy due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. However, the modulation of intrinsic plant physiology by thymol remains unclear. It is a significant challenge to confer plant tolerance to Cd (cadmium) stress. In the present study physiological, histochemical, and biochemical methods were applied to investigate thymol-induced Cd tolerance in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) seedlings. Thymol was able to alleviate Cd-induced growth inhibition of tobacco seedlings in both dose- and time-dependent manners. Both histochemical detection and in-tube assays suggested that thymol treatment blocked Cd-induced over-generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation, and loss of membrane integrity in both leaves and roots. Thymol decreased Cd-induced cell death that was indicated in vivo by propidium iodide (PI) and trypan blue, respectively. Thymol stimulated glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis by upregulating the expression of γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase 1 (GSH1) in Cd-treated seedlings, which may contribute to the alleviation of Cd-induced oxidative injury. In situ fluorescent detection of intracellular Cd2+ revealed that thymol significantly decreased free Cd2+ in roots, which could be explained by the thymol-stimulated GSH biosynthesis and upregulation of the expression of phyochelatin synthase 1 (PCS1). Taken together, these results suggested that thymol has great potential to trigger plant resistant responses to combat heavy metal toxicity, which may help our understanding of the mechanism for thymol-modulated cell metabolic pathways in response to environmental stimuli. View Full-Text
Keywords: thymol; reactive oxygen species; cell death; glutathione; cadmium; tobacco thymol; reactive oxygen species; cell death; glutathione; cadmium; tobacco

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Ye, X.; Ling, T.; Xue, Y.; Xu, C.; Zhou, W.; Hu, L.; Chen, J.; Shi, Z. Thymol Mitigates Cadmium Stress by Regulating Glutathione Levels and Reactive Oxygen Species Homeostasis in Tobacco Seedlings. Molecules 2016, 21, 1339.

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