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Identification of phytochelatins in the cadmium-stressed conjugating green alga Micrasterias denticulata

Volland, Stefanie, Schaumlöffel, Dirk, Dobritzsch, Dirk, Krauss, Gerd-Joachim, Lütz-Meindl, Ursula
Chemosphere 2013 v.91 pp. 448-454
Micrasterias, aquatic environment, cadmium, chromium, copper, ecosystems, high performance liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, peatlands, phytochelatins, thiols
Aquatic environments like peat bogs are affected by anthropogenic metal input into the environment. These ecosystems are inhabited by unicellular green algae of the class Zygnematophyceae. In this study the desmid Micrasterias denticulata was stressed with 600nM Cd, 10μM Cr and 300nM Cu for 3weeks. GSH levels were measured with HPLC and did not differ between the different treatments or the control. According to the metallo-thiolomics concept, mass spectrometry was used as a method for unambiguous thiol peptide identification. PC2, PC3 and PC4 were clearly identified in the Cd stressed sample with UPLC–MS by their MS spectrum and molecular masses. PC2 and PC3 were determined to be the main thiol compounds, while PC4 was only abundant in traces in Micrasterias. In addition, the identity of PC2 and PC3 was confirmed by MS/MS. No PCs were detected in the Cu stressed algae sample. However, in the Cr stressed sample traces of PC2 were indicated by a peak in UPLC–MS at the retention time of the PC2 standard, but the intensity was too low to acquire reliable MS and MS/MS spectra. In this study PCs have been detected for the first time in a green alga of the division Streptophyta, a close relative to higher plants.