Excess of free iron is thought to harm plant cells by enhancing the intracellular production of reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). Cytosolic ascorbate peroxidase (cAPX) is an iron-containing, ROI-detoxifying enzyme induced in response to iron overload or oxidative stress. We studied the expression of cAPX in leaves of de-rooted bean plants in response to iron overload. cAPX expression, i.e., mRNA and protein, was rapidly induced in response to iron overload. This induction correlated with the increase in iron content in leaves and occurred in the light as well as in the dark. Reduced glutathione (GSH), which plays an important role in activating the ROI signal transduction pathway as well as in ROI detoxification, was found to enhance the induction of APX mRNA by iron. To determine whether cAPX induction during iron overload was due to an increase in the amount of free iron, which serves as a co-factor for cAPX synthesis, or due to iron-mediated increase in ROI production, we tested the expression of APX in leaves under low oxygen pressure. This treatment, which suppresses the formation of ROI, completely abolished the induction of cAPX mRNA during iron overload, without affecting the rate of iron uptake by plants. Taken together, our results suggest that high intracellular levels of free iron in plants lead to the enhanced production of ROI, which in turn induces the expression of cAPX, possibly using GSH as an intermediate signal. We further show, using cAPX-antisense transgenic plants, that cAPX expression is essential to prevent iron-mediated tissue damage in tobacco.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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