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Open AccessArticle

Long-Term Cd Exposure Alters the Metabolite Profile in Stem Tissue of Medicago sativa

1
GreenTech Innovation Center, Environmental Research and Innovation Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, 5, Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, 4362 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
2
Centre for Environmental Sciences, Campus Diepenbeek, Hasselt University, Agoralaan Building D, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
3
Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University of Bonn, Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 144, 53113 Bonn, Germany
4
Groupe de Recherche en Physiologie Végétale, Earth and Life Institute—Agronomy, Université Catholique de Louvain, 5, Place Croix du Sud, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
5
Max-Planck-Institute of Plant Molecular Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
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Centre of Plant Systems Biology and Biotechnology, 4000 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current Affiliation: Laboratoire de Physiologie et de Génétique Moléculare des Plantes, Université libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
Cells 2020, 9(12), 2707; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9122707
Received: 18 November 2020 / Revised: 14 December 2020 / Accepted: 14 December 2020 / Published: 17 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics in Plant Research)
As a common pollutant, cadmium (Cd) is one of the most toxic heavy metals accumulating in agricultural soils through anthropogenic activities. The uptake of Cd by plants is the main entry route into the human food chain, whilst in plants it elicits oxidative stress by unbalancing the cellular redox status. Medicago sativa was subjected to chronic Cd stress for five months. Targeted and untargeted metabolic analyses were performed. Long-term Cd exposure altered the amino acid composition with levels of asparagine, histidine and proline decreasing in stems but increasing in leaves. This suggests tissue-specific metabolic stress responses, which are often not considered in environmental studies focused on leaves. In stem tissue, profiles of secondary metabolites were clearly separated between control and Cd-exposed plants. Fifty-one secondary metabolites were identified that changed significantly upon Cd exposure, of which the majority are (iso)flavonoid conjugates. Cadmium exposure stimulated the phenylpropanoid pathway that led to the accumulation of secondary metabolites in stems rather than cell wall lignification. Those metabolites are antioxidants mitigating oxidative stress and preventing cellular damage. By an adequate adjustment of its metabolic composition, M. sativa reaches a new steady state, which enables the plant to acclimate under chronic Cd stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: Medicago sativa; cadmium; primary metabolites; secondary metabolites; flavonoids; environmental stress; acclimation Medicago sativa; cadmium; primary metabolites; secondary metabolites; flavonoids; environmental stress; acclimation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gutsch, A.; Hendrix, S.; Guerriero, G.; Renaut, J.; Lutts, S.; Alseekh, S.; Fernie, A.R.; Hausman, J.-F.; Vangronsveld, J.; Cuypers, A.; Sergeant, K. Long-Term Cd Exposure Alters the Metabolite Profile in Stem Tissue of Medicago sativa. Cells 2020, 9, 2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9122707

AMA Style

Gutsch A, Hendrix S, Guerriero G, Renaut J, Lutts S, Alseekh S, Fernie AR, Hausman J-F, Vangronsveld J, Cuypers A, Sergeant K. Long-Term Cd Exposure Alters the Metabolite Profile in Stem Tissue of Medicago sativa. Cells. 2020; 9(12):2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9122707

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gutsch, Annelie; Hendrix, Sophie; Guerriero, Gea; Renaut, Jenny; Lutts, Stanley; Alseekh, Saleh; Fernie, Alisdair R.; Hausman, Jean-Francois; Vangronsveld, Jaco; Cuypers, Ann; Sergeant, Kjell. 2020. "Long-Term Cd Exposure Alters the Metabolite Profile in Stem Tissue of Medicago sativa" Cells 9, no. 12: 2707. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9122707

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