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Comparative transcriptome analysis of duckweed (Landoltia punctata) in response to cadmium provides insights into molecular mechanisms underlying hyperaccumulation

Xu, Hua, Yu, Changjiang, Xia, Xinli, Li, Mingliang, Li, Huiguang, Wang, Yu, Wang, Shumin, Wang, Congpeng, Ma, Yubin, Zhou, Gongke
Chemosphere 2018 v.190 pp. 154-165
Araceae, DNA repair, Landoltia punctata, RNA, breeding, cadmium, cadmium chloride, clones, cultivars, gene expression regulation, hyperaccumulators, phytoremediation, pollutants, protein metabolism, screening, sequence analysis, sulfur, transcriptomics, unigenes, vacuoles
Cadmium (Cd) is a detrimental environmental pollutant. Duckweeds have been considered promising candidates for Cd phytoremediation. Although many physiological studies have been conducted, the molecular mechanisms underlying Cd hyperaccumulation in duckweeds are largely unknown. In this study, clone 6001 of Landoltia punctata, which showed high Cd tolerance, was obtained by large-scale screening of over 200 duckweed clones. Subsequently, its growth, Cd flux, Cd accumulation, and Cd distribution characteristics were investigated. To further explore the global molecular mechanism, a comprehensive transcriptome analysis was performed. For RNA-Seq, samples were treated with 20 μM CdCl₂ for 0, 1, 3, and 6 days. In total, 9,461, 9,847, and 9615 differentially expressed unigenes (DEGs) were discovered between Cd-treated and control (0 day) samples. DEG clustering and enrichment analysis identified several biological processes for coping with Cd stress. Genes involved in DNA repair acted as an early response to Cd, while RNA and protein metabolism would be likely to respond as well. Furthermore, the carbohydrate metabolic flux tended to be modulated in response to Cd stress, and upregulated genes involved in sulfur and ROS metabolism might cause high Cd tolerance. Vacuolar sequestration most likely played an important role in Cd detoxification in L. punctata 6001. These novel findings provided important clues for molecular assisted screening and breeding of Cd hyperaccumulating cultivars for phytoremediation.