, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 841–851 | Cite as

Cadmium induced oxidative stress in soybean plants also by the accumulation of δ-aminolevulinic acid

  • Guillermo O. Noriega
  • Karina B. Balestrasse
  • Alcira Batlle
  • Maria L. Tomaro


Cadmium toxicity has been extensively studied in plants, however its biochemical mechanism of action has not yet been well established. To fulfil this objective, four-weeks-old soybean nodulated plants were treated with 200 μM Cd2+ for 48 h. δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALA-D, E.C. activity and protein expression, as well as δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and porphobilinogen (PBG) concentrations were determined in nodules, roots and leaves. In vitro experiments carried out in leaves were performed using leaf discs to evaluate the oxidant and antioxidant properties of ALA and S-adenosyl-l-methinone (SAM), respectively. Oxidative stress parameters such as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and GSH levels as well as superoxide dismutase (SOD, E.C., and guaiacol peroxidase (GPOX, E.C. were also determined. Cadmium treatment caused 100% inhibition of ALA-D activity in roots and leaves, and 72% inhibition in nodules whereas protein expression remained unaltered in the three studied tissues. Plants accumulated ALA in nodules (46%), roots (2.5-fold) and leaves (104%), respect to controls. From in vitro experiments using leaf discs, exposed to ALA or Cd2+, it was found that TBARS levels were enhanced, while GSH content and SOD and GPOX activities and expressions were diminished. The protective role of SAM against oxidative stress generated by Cd2+ and ALA was also demonstrated. Data presented in this paper let us to suggest that accumulation of ALA in nodules, roots and leaves of soybean plants due to treatment with Cd2+ is highly responsible for oxidative stress generation in these tissues.


δ-Aminolevulinic acid δ-Aminolevulinic acid dehydratase Cadmium Oxidative stress Soybean 



δ-aminolevulinic acid


δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase


Butylated hydroxytoluene


5,5′ dithio-bis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid)




Fresh weight




Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione


Nitroblue tetrazolium






Reactive oxygen species




Superoxide dismutase


Thiobarbituric acid


Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


Trichloroacetic acid



This work was supported by grants from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) (Argentina). AB and MLT are career investigators from CONICET.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillermo O. Noriega
    • 1
  • Karina B. Balestrasse
    • 2
  • Alcira Batlle
    • 1
  • Maria L. Tomaro
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones sobre Porfirinas y Porfirias (CIPYP)CONICETBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Farmacia y BioquímicaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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