Exposure to Cr(VI) induces organ dependent MSI in two loci related with photophosphorylation and with glutamine metabolism


Chromium (Cr), as a mutagenic agent in plants, has received less attention than other metal pollutants. To understand if Cr induces microsatellite instability (MSI), Pisum sativum seedlings were exposed for 28 days to different concentrations of Cr(VI) up to 2000 mg L-1, and the genetic instability of ten microsatellites (SSRs) was analyzed. In plants exposed to Cr(VI) up to 1000 mg L-1, MSI was never observed. However, roots exposed to 2000 mg L-1 displayed MSI in two of the loci analyzed, corresponding to a mutation rate of 8.3%. SSR2 (inserted in the locus for plastid photosystem I 24 kDa light harvesting protein) and SSR6 (inserted in the locus for P. sativum glutamine synthetase) from Cr(VI)-treated roots presented alleles with, respectively, less 6 bp and more 3 bp than the corresponding controls. This report demonstrates that: (a) SSRs technique is sensitive to detect Cr-induced mutagenicity in plants, being Cr-induced-MSI dose and organ dependent (roots are more sensitive); (b) two Cr-sensitive lad are related with thylakoid photophosphorylation and with glutamine synthetase, respectively; (c) despite MSI is induced by Cr(VI), it only occurs in plants exposed to concentrations higher than 1000 mg L-1 (values rarely found in real scenarios). Considering these data, we also discuss the known functional changes induced by Cr(VI) in photosynthesis and in glutamine synthetase activity. (C) 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.



subject category

Plant Sciences


Rodriguez, E; Azevedo, R; Remedios, C; Almeida, T; Fernandes, P; Santos, C

our authors


The Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) supported the work of E.R. (SFRH/BPD/75696/2011) and R.A. (SFRH/BD/75955/2011).

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