J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (9): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00144.x

• Research Articles •    

Molecular Mechanisms and Genetic Basis of Heavy Metal Tolerance/Hyperaccumulation in Plants

Xiao-E YANG, Xiao-Fen JIN, Ying FENG and Ejazul ISLAM   

Abstract: Phytoremediation has gained increased attention as a cost-effective method for the remediation of heavy metal-contaminated sites. Because some plants possess a range of potential mechanisms that may be involved in the detoxification of heavy metals, they manage to survive under metal stresses. High tolerance to heavy metal toxicity could rely either on reduced uptake or increased plant internal sequestration, which is manifested by an interaction between a genotype and its environment. The growing application of molecular genetic technologies has led to increased understanding of mechanisms of heavy metal tolerance/accumulation in plants and, subsequently, many transgenic plants with increased heavy metal resistance, as well as increased uptake of heavy metals, have been developed for the purpose of phytoremediation. In the present review, our major objective is to concisely evaluate the progress made so far in understanding the molecular/cellular mechanisms and genetic basis that control the uptake and detoxification of metals by plants.

Key words: amino acids, heat shock proteins, metal-binding proteins, metal transporters, metallothioneins, organic acids phytochelatins, phytoremediation.

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