Russian Journal of Plant Physiology

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 564–571 | Cite as

Signaling Molecule Methylglyoxal Remits the Toxicity of Plumbum by Modifying Antioxidant Enzyme and Osmoregulation Systems in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Seedlings

  • Z. G. LiEmail author
  • Y. H. Shi
  • L. Ai


Methylglyoxal (MG) has traditionally been known as a toxic byproduct of cellular metabolism in plants, which now has been found to function as a novel signaling molecule, participating in overall life cycle of plants from seed germination to senescence. However, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) as the second crop in China, whether MG can remit the toxicity of plumbum (Pb) in plant is unknown. In this study, Pb stress showed a visible damage symptom, as reflected in a growth inhibition of wheat seedlings. The growth inhibition by Pb was mitigated by exogenous application of MG, implying that MG could alleviate Pb toxicity in wheat seedlings. To further understand the possible mechanisms of the MG-alleviated Pb toxicity, the activities of antioxidant enzymes (ascorbate peroxidase: APX, guaiacol peroxidase: GPX, catalase: CAT, and superoxide dismutase: SOD) and the contents of osmolytes, proline (Pro), trehalose (Tre), and total soluble sugar (TSS), were determined. The data exhibited that Pb stress activated APX, GPX, and CAT, as well as increased Pro, Tre, and TSS levels to varying degrees in both leaves and roots of wheat seedlings. This activation and increase was further intensified by the exogenous administration of MG, hinting that antioxidant enzyme and osmoregulation systems played a synergistic effect in MG-ameliorated the tolerance of wheat seedlings to Pb stress. The present study indicated that signaling molecule MG could remit the toxicity of Pb in wheat seedlings by modifying antioxidant enzyme and osmoregulation systems.


Triticum aestivum methylglyoxal plumbum antioxidant enzymes osmolytes 



This study was supported by grants funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (project nos. 31760069, 31360057).


The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Nagajyoti, P.C., Lee, K.D., and Sreekanth, T.V.M., Heavy metals, occurrence and toxicity for plants: a review, Environ. Chem. Lett., 2010, vol. 8, pp. 199–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hossain, M.A., Piyatida, P., Silva, J.A.T., and Fujita, M., Molecular mechanism of heavy metal toxicity and tolerance in plants: central role of glutathione in detoxification of reactive oxygen species and methylglyoxal in heavy metal chelation, J. Bot., 2012, vol. 2012, pp. 872–875.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Seneviratne, M., Rajakaruna, N., Rizwan, M., Madawala, H.M.S.P., Ok, Y.S., and Vithanage, M., Heavy metal-induced oxidative stress on seed germination and seedling development: a critical review, Environ. Geochem. Health., 2017.
  4. 4.
    Pechmann, H.V., Ueber die Spaltung der Nitrosoketone, Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges., 1887, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 3213–3214. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hossain, M.A., Burritt, D.J., and Fujita, M., Proline and glycine betaine modulate cadmium-induced oxidative stress tolerance in plants: possible biochemical and molecular mechanisms, in Plant-Environment Interaction: Responses and Approaches to Mitigate Stress, Azooz, M.M. and Ahmad, P., Eds., Oxford: Wiley, 2016, pp. 97–123.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Li, Z.G., Methylglyoxal and glyoxalase system in plants: old players, new concepts, Bot. Rev., 2016, vol. 82, pp. 91–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mankikar, S. and Rangekar, P., Effects of methylglyoxal on germination of barley, Phyton, 1974, vol. 32, pp. 9–16.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hoque, T.S., Uraji, M., Tuya, A., Nakamura, Y., and Murata, Y., Methylglyoxal inhibits seed germination and root elongation and up-regulates transcription of stress-responsive genes in ABA-dependent pathway in Arabidopsis, Plant Biol., 2012, vol. 14, pp. 854–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Li, Z.G., Duan, X.Q., Xia, Y.M., Wang, Y., Zhou, Z.H., and Min, X., Methylglyoxal alleviates cadmium toxicity in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), Plant Cell Rep., 2017, vol. 36, pp. 367–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hoque, T.S., Uraji, M., Ye, W., Hossain, M.A., Nakamura, Y., and Murata, Y., Methylglyoxal-induced stomatal closure accompanied by peroxidase-mediated ROS production in Arabidopsis, J. Plant Physiol., 2012, vol. 169, pp. 979–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bless, Y., Ndlovu, L., Gokul, A., and Keyster, M., Exogenous methylglyoxal alleviates zirconium toxicity in Brassica rapa L. seedling shoots, South Afr. J. Bot., 2017, vol. 109: 327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Li, Z.G., Duan, X.Q., Min, X., and Zhou, Z.H., Methylglyoxal as a novel signal molecule induces the salt tolerance of wheat by regulating the glyoxalase system, the antioxidant system, and osmolytes, Prot-oplasma, 2017, vol. 254, pp. 1995–2006.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Li, Z.G., Yuan, L.X., Wang, Q.L., Ding, Z.L., and Dong, C.Y., Combined action of antioxidant defense system and osmolytes in chilling shock-induced chilling tolerance in Jatropha curcas seedlings, Acta Physiol. Plant., 2013, vol. 35, pp. 2127–2136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Li, Z.G., Ding, X.J., and Du, P.F., Hydrogen sulfide donor sodium hydrosulfide-improved heat tolerance in maize and involvement of proline, J. Plant Physiol., 2013, vol. 170, pp. 741–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Li, Z.G., Luo, L.J., and Zhu, L.P., Involvement of trehalose in hydrogen sulfide donor sodium hydrosulfide-induced the acquisition of heat tolerance in maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings, Bot. Stud., 2014, vol. 55: 20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Waszczak, C., Carmody, M., and Kangasjärvi, J., Reactive oxygen species in plant signaling, Annu. Rev. Plant Biol., 2018, vol. 69, pp. 209–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cheng, S., Effects of heavy metals on plants and resistance mechanisms, Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 2003, vol. 10, pp. 256–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hoque, T.S., Hossain, M.A., Mostofa, M.G., Burritt, D.J., Fujita, M., and Tran, L.-S.P., Methylglyoxal: an emerging signaling molecule in plant abiotic stress responses and tolerance, Front. Plant Sci., 2016, vol. 7: 1341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sankaranarayanan, S., Jamshed, M., Kumar, A., Skori, L., Scandola, S., Wang, T., Spiegel, D., and Samuel, M.A., Glyoxalase goes green: the expanding roles of glyoxalase in plants, Int. J. Mol. Sci., 2017, vol. 18: 898. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sankaranarayanan, S., Jamshed, M., and Samuel, M.A., Degradation of glyoxalase I in Brassica napus stigma leads to self-incompatibility response, Nat. Plants, 2015, vol. 1: 15185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hoque, T.S., Okuma, E., Uraji, M., Furuichi, T., Sasaki, T., and Hoque, M.A., Inhibitory effects of methylglyoxal on light-induced stomatal opening and inward K+ channel activity in Arabidopsis, Biosci. B-iotechnol. Biochem., 2012, vol. 76, pp. 617–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Neill, S., Barros, R., Bright, J., Desikan, R., Hancock, J., Harrison, J., Morris, P., Ribeiro, D., and Wilson, I., Nitric oxide, stomatal closure, and abiotic stress, J. Exp. Bot., 2008, vol. 59, pp. 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Shahid, M., Ferrand, E., Schreck, E., and Dumat, C., Behavior and impact of zirconium in the soil–plant system: plant uptake and phytotoxicity, Rev. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., 2013, vol. 221, pp. 107–127.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Li, Z.G., Nie, Q., Yang, C.L., Wang, Y., and Zhou, Z.H., Signaling molecule methylglyoxal meliorates cadmium injury in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by a coordinated induction of glutathione pool and glyoxalase system, Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf., 2018, vol. 149, pp. 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Li, Z.G., Xu, Y., Bai, L.K., Zhang, S.Y., and Wang, Y., Melatonin enhances thermotolerance of maize seedlings (Zea mays L.) by modulating antioxidant defense, methylglyoxal detoxification, and osmoregulation systems, Protoplasma, 2018.

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Sciences, Yunnan Normal UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center of Sustainable Development and Utilization of Biomass Energy, Ministry of EducationKunmingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Biomass Energy and Environmental Biotechnology, Yunnan Province, Yunnan Normal UniversityKunmingChina

Personalised recommendations