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Identification and expression analysis of CYS-A1, CYS-C1, NIT4 genes in rice seedlings exposed to cyanide

Yu, Xiao-Zhang, Lin, Yu-Juan, Lu, Chun-Jiao, Zhang, Xue-Hong
Ecotoxicology 2017 v.26 no.7 pp. 956-965
Arabidopsis, amino acid sequences, cysteine, cysteine synthase, gene expression regulation, genes, nitrilase, phylogeny, plant tissues, potassium cyanide, prediction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rice, roots, seedlings, shoots, transcription (genetics)
Involvement of genes (CYS-A1, CYS-C1 and NIT4) encoded with cysteine synthase, β-cyanoalanine synthase, nitrilase and cyanide metabolisms are evident in Arabidopsis. In the present study, identifications of CYS-A1, CYS-C1 and NIT4, predictions of conserved motifs, and constructions of phylogenetic relationships, based on their amino acid sequences in rice, were conducted. In order to elucidate the transcriptional responses of these cyanide-degrading genes, two candidate homologues were selected for each gene to test their expression changes upon exposure to exogenous KCN in rice seedlings using RT-PCR. Results showed that all selected candidate homologous genes were differentially expressed at different exposure points in roots and shoots of rice seedlings, suggesting their distinct roles during cyanide assimilation. Both candidate homologues for CYS-A1 constantly exhibited more abundant transcripts in comparison to control. However, only one candidate homologue for CYS-C1 and NIT4 showed a remarkable up-regulation during KCN exposure. Analysis of both tissue and solution cyanide indicated that rice seedlings were quickly able to metabolize exogenous KCN with minor accumulation in plant tissues. In conclusion, significant up-regulation of CYS-A1 suggested that the endogenous pool of cysteine catalyzed by cysteine synthase does not restrict the conversion of exogenous KCN into cyanoalanine through the β-cyanoalanine pathway. However, insufficient responses of the transcription level of NIT4 suggested that NIT enzyme may be a limiting factor for cyanoalanine assimilation by rice seedlings.