, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 895–902 | Cite as

Effects of cadmium exposure on expression of glutathione synthetase system genes in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

  • Chunli Zheng
  • Li Zhang
  • Minjie Chen
  • Xue Qiang Zhao
  • Yizhuo Duan
  • Ye Meng
  • Xuefeng Zhang
  • Ren Fang ShenEmail author
Original Paper


The glutathione synthetase system (GSS) is an important pathway of glutathione synthesis and plays a key role in heavy metal resistance. In this work, the response of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans to extracellular Cd2+ was investigated, and the interplay between Cd2+ resistance and the expression of GSS related-genes was analyzed by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-PCR). During growth in the presence of 5, 15 and 30 mM Cd2+, the transcript levels of eight GSS pathway genes were affected between 0.81- and 7.12-fold. Increased transcription was also reflected in increased enzyme activities: with those of glutathione reductase (GR) increased by 1.10-, 2.26- and 1.54-fold in the presence of 5, 15 and 30 mM Cd2+, respectively. In contrast, the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were decreased in the presence of Cd2+. At the metabolite level, intracellular methane dicarboxylic aldehyde (MDA) content was increased 1.97-, 3.31- and 1.92-fold in the presence of 5, 15 and 30 mM Cd2+, respectively. These results suggest that Cd2+ directly inhibits the activities of CAT and SOD, breaks the redox balance of the cells, which leads to the activation of the other antioxidant pathway of GSS. Resistance of A. ferrooxidans to Cd2+ may involve modulation of expression levels of glutathione S-transferase (GST), GR, and glutathione synthetase, which may protect against oxidative damage.


Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans Cadmium Glutathione Gene expression 







5,5-dithiobis (2-nitrobenzoic acid)


Glutamate-cysteine ligase


Glutathione reductase


Glutathione synthetase




Glutathione synthetase system


Glutathione disulfide


Glutathione S-transferase


Methane dicarboxylic aldehyde


Reactive oxygen species


Reverse-transcription quantitative PCR


Sulfur assimilation pathway


Superoxide dismutase


Thiobarbituric acid



The project is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (51264029, 41561094), Inner Mongolia Natural Science Foundation of China (2017MS0401), Program for Young Talents of Science and Technology in Universities of Inner Mongolia (NJYT-14-B12), Inner Mongolia talent development fund, Inner Mongolia science and technology project (201501083), and Young Innovation Foundation of Inner Mongolia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chunli Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Li Zhang
    • 2
  • Minjie Chen
    • 2
  • Xue Qiang Zhao
    • 1
  • Yizhuo Duan
    • 2
  • Ye Meng
    • 2
  • Xuefeng Zhang
    • 2
  • Ren Fang Shen
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable AgricultureInstitute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Energy and EnvironmentInner Mongolia University of Science and TechnologyBaotouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Integrated Exploitation of Bayan Obo Multi-Metal ResourcesBaotouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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