[Oxidative stress in plants exposed to heavy metals].Postepy Biochem. 2010; 56(2):191-200.PB
Oxidative stress has been involved in the toxicity of heavy metals in different plant species. Exposure to metal ions can intensify the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as: superoxide radicals, hydroxyl radicals or hydrogen peroxide. These species can react with cellular components (lipids, proteins, nucleic acids) and cause lipid peroxidation, membrane damage and inactivation of enzymes thus affect many physiological processes as well as cell viability. Plants have evolved a complex array of mechanisms to maintain low ROS level and avoid the detrimental effects of excessively high ROS concentrations. This antioxidant network includes numerous soluble (ascorbate, glutathione) and membrane (tocopherol) compounds as well as enzymes involved in ROS scavenging (superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase). ROS must be efficiently detoxified to ameliorate the harmful effects of heavy metals in the cells. However they cannot be eliminated completely because plants use ROS as second messengers in signal transduction cascades in diverse physiological processes.