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Article

Lead, Cadmium and Zinc Phytotoxicity Alter DNA Methylation Levels to Confer Heavy Metal Tolerance in Wheat

1
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A5B8, Canada
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad campus, Pakhtunkhwa 22060, Pakistan
3
College of Life Sciences, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100084, China
4
Department of Biotechnology, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad campus, Pakhtunkhwa 22060, Pakistan
5
Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St, London, Ontario, N6A5B8, Canada
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(19), 4676; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194676
Received: 17 August 2019 / Revised: 16 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 September 2019 / Published: 20 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals Accumulation, Toxicity and Detoxification in Plants)
Being a staple food, wheat (Triticum aestivum) nutritionally fulfills all requirements of human health and also serves as a significant link in the food chain for the ingestion of pollutants by humans and animals. Therefore, the presence of the heavy metals such as lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) in soil is not only responsible for the reduction of wheat crop yield but also the potential threat for human and animal health. However, the link between DNA methylation and heavy metal stress tolerance in wheat has not been investigated yet. In this study, eight high yielding wheat varieties were screened based on their phenotype in response to Pb stress. Out of these, Pirsabak 2004 and Fakhar-e-sarhad were identified as Pb resistant and sensitive varieties, respectively. In addition, Pirsabak 2004 and Fakhar-e-sarhad varieties were also found resistant and sensitive to Cd and Zinc (Zn) stress, respectively. Antioxidant activity was decreased in Fakhar-e-sarhad compared with control in response to Pb/Cd/Zn stresses, but Fakhar-e-sarhad and Pirsabak 2004 accumulated similar levels of Pb, Cd and Zn in their roots. The expression of Heavy Metal ATPase 2 (TaHMA2) and ATP-Binding Cassette (TaABCC2/3/4) metal detoxification transporters are significantly upregulated in Pirsabak 2004 compared with Fakhar-e-sarhad and non-treated controls in response to Pb, Cd and Zn metal stresses. Consistent with upregulation of metal detoxification transporters, CG DNA hypomethylation was also found at the promoter region of these transporters in Pirsabak 2004 compared with Fakhar-e-sarhad and non-treated control, which indicates that DNA methylation regulates the expression of metal detoxification transporters to confer resistance against metal toxicity in wheat. This study recommends the farmers to cultivate Pirsabak 2004 variety in metal contaminated soils and also highlights that DNA methylation is associated with metal stress tolerance in wheat. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA methylation; ABCC transporters; HMA2; wheat; metal stress tolerance DNA methylation; ABCC transporters; HMA2; wheat; metal stress tolerance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shafiq, S.; Zeb, Q.; Ali, A.; Sajjad, Y.; Nazir, R.; Widemann, E.; Liu, L. Lead, Cadmium and Zinc Phytotoxicity Alter DNA Methylation Levels to Confer Heavy Metal Tolerance in Wheat. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 4676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194676

AMA Style

Shafiq S, Zeb Q, Ali A, Sajjad Y, Nazir R, Widemann E, Liu L. Lead, Cadmium and Zinc Phytotoxicity Alter DNA Methylation Levels to Confer Heavy Metal Tolerance in Wheat. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019; 20(19):4676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194676

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shafiq, Sarfraz, Qudsia Zeb, Asim Ali, Yasar Sajjad, Rashid Nazir, Emilie Widemann, and Liangyu Liu. 2019. "Lead, Cadmium and Zinc Phytotoxicity Alter DNA Methylation Levels to Confer Heavy Metal Tolerance in Wheat" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20, no. 19: 4676. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20194676

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