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Real-time kinetics of cadmium transport and transcriptomic analysis in low cadmium accumulator Miscanthus sacchariflorus


Main conclusion

The molecular mechanism of low Cd influxes and accumulation in Miscanthus sacchariflorus is revealed by RNA sequencing technique.

Soil cadmium (Cd) pollution has posed a serious threat to our soil quality and food security as well as to human health. Some wild plants exhibit high tolerance to heavy metals stress. However, mechanisms of Cd tolerance of wild plants remain to be fully clarified. In this study, we found that two Miscanthus species, Miscanthus (M.) sacchariflorus and M. floridulus, showed different Cd-tolerant mechanisms. M. sacchariflorus accumulated less Cd in both root and leaf by limiting Cd uptake from root and showed superior Cd tolerance, while M. floridulus not only absorbs more Cd from root but also transports more Cd to shoot. To investigate the molecular mechanism of different Cd uptake patterns in the two Miscanthus species, we analyzed the transcriptome of M. sacchariflorus and identified transcriptional changes in response to Cd in roots by high-throughput RNA-sequencing technology. A total of 92,985 unigenes were obtained from M. sacchariflorus root cDNA samples. Based on the assembled de novo transcriptome, 681 DEGs which included 345 upregulated and 336 downregulated genes were detected between two libraries of untreated and Cd-treated roots. Gene ontology (GO) and pathway enrichment analysis revealed that upregulated DEGs under Cd stress are predominately involved in metabolic pathway, starch and sucrose and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and metal ion transporters. Quantitative RT-PCR was employed to compare the expression levels of some metal transport genes in roots of two Miscanthus species, and the genes involved in Cd uptake from root and transfer from root to shoot were extremely different. The results not only enrich genomic resource but also help to better understand the molecular mechanisms of Cd accumulation and tolerance in wild plants.

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We thank Guoping Zhang for the microelectrode ion flux estimation (MIFE) technique support. We also thank Dr. Shafiqur Rahman for assistance in improving the written English. This work was supported by the National Science and Technology Support Plan of China (Grant no. 2012BAC09B01) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 31371591, 31571577).

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Correspondence to Bingsong Zheng or Dean Jiang.

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Guo, H., Hong, C., Xiao, M. et al. Real-time kinetics of cadmium transport and transcriptomic analysis in low cadmium accumulator Miscanthus sacchariflorus . Planta 244, 1289–1302 (2016).

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  • Miscanthus sacchariflorus
  • Miscanthus floridulus
  • Cd fluxes
  • Transcriptomic analysis
  • Metal transport protein
  • RT-PCR