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Special Issue "Effects of Herbicides and Heavy Metals to the Structure and Function of Plant Cells"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2015).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Eleftherios P. Eleftheriou
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Botany, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel. +30 2310 998385; Fax: +30 2310 998382
Interests: plant cell biology; plant anatomy and morphology; microtubules; actin microfilaments; effects of herbicides, metals and organic pollutants on plant cell structure and mitosis; phloem; nectaries; plant biotechnology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Normal development and productivity of plants depend on internal and external factors. Among the external factors that exert detrimental effects to plants are natural and man-made herbicides (which are extensively used in agriculture), heavy metals (which accumulate to high local levels as a result of anthropogenic activities), and organic pollutants (such as bisphenol A) that are widely used in chemical industry for the fabrication of numerous everyday commodities. These agents disturb the structure and function of the plant cells, causing aberrations of cell division, disruption of microtubule systems, and genotoxicity. Numerous studies have revealed profound effects of toxic agents to different plant species, indicating a species-specific response depending on differential gene expression. New efforts address the identification of candidate genes responsible for the discrepancies; these genes are exploited in medicine, chemotherapy, and in agricultural herbicide application. This Special Issue focuses on the existing knowledge of toxic agents-plants interaction and outlines perspectives for future research endeavors. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms of heavy metal and herbicide action at the cellular and molecular levels.

Prof. Dr. Eleftherios P. Eleftheriou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • antioxidant enzymes
  • auxins
  • bisphenol A
  • cell division aberration
  • cell vacuolation
  • cytoskeleton (microtubules, actin microfilaments)
  • cytotoxicity
  • colchicine
  • differential response
  • dinitroanilines
  • endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • gene expression
  • genotoxicity
  • heavy metals
  • herbicides
  • hyperaccumulators
  • micronucleus assay
  • microtubule drugs
  • mitotic index
  • nitric oxide
  • oxidative stress
  • phytoremediation
  • programmed cell death
  • reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • tubulin acetylation
  • ultrastructural effects
  • vinca alkaloids

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Environmental Conditions Influence Induction of Key ABC-Transporter Genes Affecting Glyphosate Resistance Mechanism in Conyza canadensis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17040342 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Conyza canadensis has been reported to be the most frequent weed species that evolved resistance to glyphosate in various parts of the world. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of environmental conditions (temperature and light) on the expression [...] Read more.
Conyza canadensis has been reported to be the most frequent weed species that evolved resistance to glyphosate in various parts of the world. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of environmental conditions (temperature and light) on the expression levels of the EPSPS gene and two major ABC-transporter genes (M10 and M11) on glyphosate susceptible (GS) and glyphosate resistant (GR) horseweed populations, collected from several regions across Greece. Real-time PCR was conducted to determine the expression level of the aforementioned genes when glyphosate was applied at normal (1×; 533 g·a.e.·ha−1) and high rates (4×, 8×), measured at an early one day after treatment (DAT) and a later stage (four DAT) of expression. Plants were exposed to light or dark conditions, at three temperature regimes (8, 25, 35 °C). GR plants were made sensitive when exposed to 8 °C with light; those sensitized plants behaved biochemically (shikimate accumulation) and molecularly (expression of EPSPS and ABC-genes) like the GS plants. Results from the current study show the direct link between the environmental conditions and the induction level of the above key genes that likely affect the efficiency of the proposed mechanism of glyphosate resistance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Profiling of Louisiana iris Root and Identification of Genes Involved in Lead-Stress Response
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(12), 28087-28097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161226084 - 25 Nov 2015
Cited by 13
Abstract
Louisiana iris is tolerant to and accumulates the heavy metal lead (Pb). However, there is limited knowledge of the molecular mechanisms behind this feature. We describe the transcriptome of Louisiana iris using Illumina sequencing technology. The root transcriptome of Louisiana iris under control [...] Read more.
Louisiana iris is tolerant to and accumulates the heavy metal lead (Pb). However, there is limited knowledge of the molecular mechanisms behind this feature. We describe the transcriptome of Louisiana iris using Illumina sequencing technology. The root transcriptome of Louisiana iris under control and Pb-stress conditions was sequenced. Overall, 525,498 transcripts representing 313,958 unigenes were assembled using the clean raw reads. Among them, 43,015 unigenes were annotated and their functions classified using the euKaryotic Orthologous Groups (KOG) database. They were divided into 25 molecular families. In the Gene Ontology (GO) database, 50,174 unigenes were categorized into three GO trees (molecular function, cellular component and biological process). After analysis of differentially expressed genes, some Pb-stress-related genes were selected, including biosynthesis genes of chelating compounds, metal transporters, transcription factors and antioxidant-related genes. This study not only lays a foundation for further studies on differential genes under Pb stress, but also facilitates the molecular breeding of Louisiana iris. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Increased Uptake of Chelated Copper Ions by Lolium perenne Attributed to Amplified Membrane and Endodermal Damage
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(10), 25264-25284; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161025264 - 23 Oct 2015
Cited by 3
Abstract
The contributions of mechanisms by which chelators influence metal translocation to plant shoot tissues are analyzed using a combination of numerical modelling and physical experiments. The model distinguishes between apoplastic and symplastic pathways of water and solute movement. It also includes the barrier [...] Read more.
The contributions of mechanisms by which chelators influence metal translocation to plant shoot tissues are analyzed using a combination of numerical modelling and physical experiments. The model distinguishes between apoplastic and symplastic pathways of water and solute movement. It also includes the barrier effects of the endodermis and plasma membrane. Simulations are used to assess transport pathways for free and chelated metals, identifying mechanisms involved in chelate-enhanced phytoextraction. Hypothesized transport mechanisms and parameters specific to amendment treatments are estimated, with simulated results compared to experimental data. Parameter values for each amendment treatment are estimated based on literature and experimental values, and used for model calibration and simulation of amendment influences on solute transport pathways and mechanisms. Modeling indicates that chelation alters the pathways for Cu transport. For free ions, Cu transport to leaf tissue can be described using purely apoplastic or transcellular pathways. For strong chelators (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA)), transport by the purely apoplastic pathway is insufficient to represent measured Cu transport to leaf tissue. Consistent with experimental observations, increased membrane permeability is required for simulating translocation in EDTA and DTPA treatments. Increasing the membrane permeability is key to enhancing phytoextraction efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of a Type 1 Metallothionein Gene from the Stresses-Tolerant Plant Ziziphus jujuba
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(8), 16750-16762; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160816750 - 23 Jul 2015
Cited by 18
Abstract
Plant metallothioneins (MTs) are a family of low molecular weight, cysteine-rich, and metal-binding proteins, which play an important role in the detoxification of heavy metal ions, osmotic stresses, and hormone treatment. Sequence analysis revealed that the open-reading frame (ORF) of ZjMT was 225 [...] Read more.
Plant metallothioneins (MTs) are a family of low molecular weight, cysteine-rich, and metal-binding proteins, which play an important role in the detoxification of heavy metal ions, osmotic stresses, and hormone treatment. Sequence analysis revealed that the open-reading frame (ORF) of ZjMT was 225 bp, which encodes a protein composed of 75 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 7.376 kDa and a predicated isoelectric point (pI) of 4.83. ZjMT belongs to the type I MT, which consists of two highly conserved cysteine-rich terminal domains linked by a cysteine free region. Our studies showed that ZjMT was primarily localized in the cytoplasm and the nucleus of cells and ZjMT expression was up-regulated by NaCl, CdCl2 and polyethylene glycol (PEG) treatments. Constitutive expression of ZjMT in wild type Arabidopsis plants enhanced their tolerance to NaCl stress during the germination stage. Compared with the wild type, transgenic plants accumulate more Cd2+ in root, but less in leaf, suggesting that ZjMT may have a function in Cd2+ retension in roots and, therefore, decrease the toxicity of Cd2+. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chromium-Induced Ultrastructural Changes and Oxidative Stress in Roots of Arabidopsis thaliana
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(7), 15852-15871; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160715852 - 13 Jul 2015
Cited by 25
Abstract
Chromium (Cr) is an abundant heavy metal in nature, toxic to living organisms. As it is widely used in industry and leather tanning, it may accumulate locally at high concentrations, raising concerns for human health hazards. Though Cr effects have extensively been investigated [...] Read more.
Chromium (Cr) is an abundant heavy metal in nature, toxic to living organisms. As it is widely used in industry and leather tanning, it may accumulate locally at high concentrations, raising concerns for human health hazards. Though Cr effects have extensively been investigated in animals and mammals, in plants they are poorly understood. The present study was then undertaken to determine the ultrastructural malformations induced by hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)], the most toxic form provided as 100 μM potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7), in the root tip cells of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. A concentration-dependent decrease of root growth and a time-dependent increase of dead cells, callose deposition, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and peroxidase activity were found in Cr(VI)-treated seedlings, mostly at the transition root zone. In the same zone, nuclei remained ultrastructurally unaffected, but in the meristematic zone some nuclei displayed bulbous outgrowths or contained tubular structures. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was less affected under Cr(VI) stress, but Golgi bodies appeared severely disintegrated. Moreover, mitochondria and plastids became spherical and displayed translucent stroma with diminished internal membranes, but noteworthy is that their double-membrane envelopes remained structurally intact. Starch grains and electron dense deposits occurred in the plastids. Amorphous material was also deposited in the cell walls, the middle lamella and the vacuoles. Some vacuoles were collapsed, but the tonoplast appeared integral. The plasma membrane was structurally unaffected and the cytoplasm contained opaque lipid droplets and dense electron deposits. All electron dense deposits presumably consisted of Cr that is sequestered from sensitive sites, thus contributing to metal tolerance. It is concluded that the ultrastructural changes are reactive oxygen species (ROS)-correlated and the malformations observed are organelle specific. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Age-Dependent Photoprotective and Antioxidative Response Mechanisms to Paraquat-Induced Oxidative Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(6), 13989-14006; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160613989 - 18 Jun 2015
Cited by 33
Abstract
Exposure of Arabidopsis thaliana young and mature leaves to the herbicide paraquat (Pq) resulted in a localized increase of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the leaf veins and the neighboring mesophyll cells, but this increase was not similar in the [...] Read more.
Exposure of Arabidopsis thaliana young and mature leaves to the herbicide paraquat (Pq) resulted in a localized increase of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the leaf veins and the neighboring mesophyll cells, but this increase was not similar in the two leaf types. Increased H2O2 production was concomitant with closed reaction centers (qP). Thirty min after Pq exposure despite the induction of the photoprotective mechanism of non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) in mature leaves, H2O2 production was lower in young leaves mainly due to the higher increase activity of ascorbate peroxidase (APX). Later, 60 min after Pq exposure, the total antioxidant capacity of young leaves was not sufficient to scavenge the excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) that were formed, and thus, a higher H2O2 accumulation in young leaves occurred. The energy allocation of absorbed light in photosystem II (PSII) suggests the existence of a differential photoprotective regulatory mechanism in the two leaf types to the time-course Pq exposure accompanied by differential antioxidant protection mechanisms. It is concluded that tolerance to Pq-induced oxidative stress is related to the redox state of quinone A (QA). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Subcellular Sequestration and Impact of Heavy Metals on the Ultrastructure and Physiology of the Multicellular Freshwater Alga Desmidium swartzii
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(5), 10389-10410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms160510389 - 07 May 2015
Cited by 21Correction
Abstract
Due to modern life with increasing traffic, industrial production and agricultural practices, high amounts of heavy metals enter ecosystems and pollute soil and water. As a result, metals can be accumulated in plants and particularly in algae inhabiting peat bogs of low pH [...] Read more.
Due to modern life with increasing traffic, industrial production and agricultural practices, high amounts of heavy metals enter ecosystems and pollute soil and water. As a result, metals can be accumulated in plants and particularly in algae inhabiting peat bogs of low pH and high air humidity. In the present study, we investigated the impact and intracellular targets of aluminum, copper, cadmium, chromium VI and zinc on the filamentous green alga Desmidium swartzii, which is an important biomass producer in acid peat bogs. By means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) it is shown that all metals examined are taken up into Desmidium readily, where they are sequestered in cell walls and/or intracellular compartments. They cause effects on cell ultrastructure to different degrees and additionally disturb photosynthetic activity and biomass production. Our study shows a clear correlation between toxicity of a metal and the ability of the algae to compartmentalize it intracellularly. Cadmium and chromium, which are not compartmentalized, exert the most toxic effects. In addition, this study shows that the filamentous alga Desmidium reacts more sensitively to aluminum and zinc when compared to its unicellular relative Micrasterias, indicating a severe threat to the ecosystem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Functional Analysis of MicroRNAs and Their Targets in Platanus acerifolia under Lead (Pb) Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(4), 7098-7111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms16047098 - 30 Mar 2015
Cited by 10
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important regulatory roles in development and stress responses in plants. Lead (Pb) is a non-essential element that is highly toxic to living organisms. Platanus acerifolia is grown as a street tree in cities throughout temperate regions for its importance in [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important regulatory roles in development and stress responses in plants. Lead (Pb) is a non-essential element that is highly toxic to living organisms. Platanus acerifolia is grown as a street tree in cities throughout temperate regions for its importance in improving the urban ecological environment. MiRNAs that respond to abiotic stresses have been identified in plants; however, until now, the influence of Pb stress on P. acerifolia miRNAs has not been reported. To identify miRNAs and predict their target genes under Pb stress, two small RNA and two degradome libraries were constructed from Pb-treated and Pb-free leaves of P. acerifolia seedlings. After sequencing, 55 known miRNAs and 129 novel miRNAs were obtained, and 104 target genes for the miRNAs were identified by degradome sequencing. Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analyses were performed to predict the functions of the targets. The expressions of eight differentially expressed miRNAs were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). This is the first report about P. acerifolia miRNAs and their target genes under Pb stress. This study has provided data for further research into molecular mechanisms involved in resistance of P. acerifolia to Pb stress. Full article
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