Plant architecture, auxin homeostasis and phenol content in Arabidopsis thaliana grown in cadmium- and zinc-enriched media.J Plant Physiol. 2017 Sep; 216:174-180.JP
A screening strategy using micropropagation glass tubes with a gradient of distances between germinating seeds and a metal-contaminated medium was used for studying alterations in root architecture and morphology of Arabidopsis thaliana treated with cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) at the concentration of 10-20μM and 100-200μM, respectively. Metal concentrations in plant shoots and roots were measured by quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. After 21days from germination, all plants in the tubes were scanned at high resolution and the root systems analyzed. The localization of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) in the primary root and lateral root apices was monitored using DR5:GUS, LAX3:GUS and AUX1:GUS Arabidopsis transgenic lines. Total phenol content in leaves was measured spectrophotometrically. Shoot and root dry weight and leaf area did not change in Zn-exposed plants and significantly decreased in Cd-exposed plants, compared to control plants. Cadmium induced a reduction of root length, of mean number of roots and of total root surface. Both Cd- and Zn-exposed plants showed a reduced specific root length. This morphological behavior, together with an observed increase in root diameter in metal-exposed plants could be interpreted as compensatory growth, and the observed thicker roots could act as a barrier to protect root from the metals. In comparison with the apical localization of the IAA signal in the control plants, Zn generally reinforced the intensity of IAA signal, without affecting its localization. In Cd-exposed plants, IAA localization remained apical but weaker compared to control plants. Total phenols decreased in plants exposed to Zn and Cd. Therefore, we propose that the remodelling of the root architecture and the production of some secondary metabolites, such as IAA and phenols could be two responses of plants subjected to metal stress. This knowledge can open the way to future phytoremediation strategies of contaminated sites.