Response of secondary metabolites to Cu in the Cu-hyperaccumulator lichen Stereocaulon japonicum
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Lichen secondary metabolites are known to be associated with heavy metal uptake and tolerance in lichens. Understanding the relationship between their secondary metabolites and heavy metals in them is important for clarifying the mechanisms of their heavy metal accumulation and tolerance. To determine the relationships between the concentrations of secondary metabolites and Cu in the Cu-hyperaccumulator lichen Stereocaulon japonicum and to clarify its response to Cu, we collected Cu-contaminated and uncontaminated samples of the lichen and determined relative concentrations of secondary metabolites and concentrations of Cu, K, glucose, and sugar alcohols in them. We found significant negative correlations between the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites—atranorin and stictic acid—and the concentration of Cu. These negative correlations can be interpreted in one of two ways: (a) S. japonicum itself reduced the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites in response to the increase of Cu concentration or (b) its carbon and energy metabolism was damaged by Cu stress, resulting in the reduction of the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites. The analysis of K, glucose, and sugar alcohols showed no effect of Cu on these concentrations, which means that the carbon and energy metabolism was not damaged by Cu stress. Therefore, the negative correlations can be interpreted that S. japonicum itself reduced the relative concentrations of secondary metabolites with the increase of Cu concentration. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the response of secondary metabolites to Cu in the lichen.
KeywordsStereocaulon japonicum Copper hyperaccumulator Lichen secondary metabolite Atranorin Stictic acid Glucose Sugar alcohol Carbon and energy metabolism
This study was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26340045.
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