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Enhanced nitric oxide generation mitigates cadmium toxicity via superoxide scavenging leading to the formation of peroxynitrite in barley root tip

Demecsová, Loriana, Bočová, Beáta, Zelinová, Veronika, Tamás, Ladislav
Journal of plant physiology 2019 v.238 pp. 20-28
barley, cadmium, cell death, cysteine, dose response, growth retardation, homeostasis, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide, root growth, root tips, rotenone, toxicity, uric acid
The aim of this study was to observe the possible function of increased superoxide and NO production in the response of barley root tip to the harmful level of Cd. While superoxide generation was detected only in the transition zone, the formation of NO was observed in the apical elongation zones of the control root tips. However, the root region with the superoxide generation was also associated with peroxynitrite specific fluorescence signal. Superoxide, H2O2 and peroxynitrite generation increased with Cd treatment in a dose-dependent manner. In turn, NO level increased at low 10–20 μM but decreased at high 50–60 μM Cd concentrations in comparison with the control. While co-treatment of roots with rotenone markedly attenuated the Cd-induced superoxide generation and lipid peroxidation, it increased the level of NO in the root tips. Although rotenone did not influence the Cd-induced increase of GPX activity at 10–30 μM Cd concentrations, it markedly reversed the high 40–60 μM Cd concentrations-induced decline of GPX activity. Cd-induced cell death was associated with robust superoxide generation, but not with a high level of peroxynitrite. The Cd-evoked inhibition of root growth was significantly reversed by a strong antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine but not by a peroxynitrite scavenger uric acid, suggesting that similarly to Cd-induced cell death, an imbalance in the ROS homeostasis and not an enhanced level of peroxynitrite is responsible for the Cd-induced root growth inhibition. Based on these findings, it can be assumed that NO acts mainly in the regulation of superoxide level in the tips of root. Under Cd stress, the enhanced NO level is involved in the scavenging of highly toxic superoxide through the formation of peroxynitrite, thus reducing the superoxide-mediated cell death in barley root.