Reactive Oxygen Species and Signaling in Cadmium Toxicity
The toxicity of heavy metals in living organisms has become a major focus of research in recent decades as a result of the increased environmental pollution in industrial areas. Cadmium is one of the most dangerous heavy metals due to its high mobility in plants. This metal produces malfunctions in membranes, photosynthesis rate, and water-nutrient balance, and also causes oxidative damages. By contrast with the enormous number of publications on the tolerance and accumulation of cadmium in plants, there is a remarkable lack of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms and signaling events underlying plant responses to Cd toxicity, especially those involving reactive oxygen species (ROS). The dual role of ROS in heavy metal toxicity as both oxidative damage inducers and signaling molecules has been demonstrated in recent years and will be discussed in this chapter. The contribution of oxidative damage to Cd toxicity and the mechanisms involved in the cellular response to this metal, such as antioxidant regulation, protein defenses, and the role of NO and hormones, will also be analyzed.
KeywordsReactive Oxygen Species Nitric Oxide Heavy Metal Salicylic Acid Reactive Oxygen Species Production
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science, Spain (Grant BIO2005–03305) and Junta de Andalucía (project P06-CVI-01820).
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