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Acetaminophen detoxification in cucumber plants via induction of glutathione S-transferases

Sun, Chengliang, Dudley, Stacia, McGinnis, Michelle, Trumble, John, Gan, Jay
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.649 pp. 431-439
acetaminophen, acetylcysteine, agroecosystems, alfalfa, beans, biosolids, biotransformation, crops, cucumbers, cysteine, cytochrome P-450, enzyme activity, glutathione, glutathione transferase, homeostasis, leaves, personal care products, phytotoxicity, plant development, roots, tomatoes, wastewater, wheat
Many pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) enter agroecosystems during reuse of treated wastewater and biosolids, presenting potential impacts on plant development. Here, acetaminophen, one of the most-used pharmaceuticals, was used to explore roles of glutathione (GSH) conjugation in its biotransformation in crop plants. Acetaminophen was taken up by plants, and conjugated quickly with GSH. After exposure to 5 mg L−1 acetaminophen for 144 h, GSH-acetaminophen conjugates were 15.2 ± 1.3 nmol g−1 and 1.2 ± 0.1 nmol g−1 in cucumber roots and leaves, respectively. Glutathione-acetaminophen was also observed in common bean, alfalfa, tomato, and wheat. Inhibition of cytochrome P450 decreased GSH conjugation. Moreover, the GSH conjugate was found to further convert to cysteine and N-acetylcysteine conjugates. Glutathione S-transferase activity was significantly elevated after exposure to acetaminophen, while levels of GSH decreased by 55.4% in roots after 48 h, followed by a gradual recovery thereafter. Enzymes involved in GSH synthesis, regeneration and transport were consistently induced to maintain the GSH homeostasis. Therefore, GST-mediated conjugation likely played a crucial role in minimizing phytotoxicity of acetaminophen and other PPCPs in plants.