J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (12): 1693-1702.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00585.x

• Stress & Phytochemistry • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Cadmium on Polar Lipid Composition and Unsaturation in Maize (Zea mays) in Hydroponic Culture

Radhouane Chaffai, Tinni Nouhou Seybou, Brahim Marzouk and Ezzedine El Ferjani   

Abstract: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of Cd exposure (100 μmol/L) on polar lipid composition, and to examine the level of fatty acid unsaturation in maize (Zea mays L.). In roots, the level of 16:0 and monounsaturated fatty acids (16:1 + 18:1) decreased in phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). In contrast, the proportion of unsaturated 18-C fatty acid species showed an opposite response to Cd. The content, on the other hand, of PC, PE, digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), and steryl lipids increased in roots (2.9-, 1.6-, 5.3-, and 1.7-fold increase, respectively). These results suggest that a more unsaturated fatty acid composition than found in control plants with a concomitant increase in polar lipids may favor seedling growth during Cd exposure. However, the observed increase in the steryl lipid (SL) : phospholipid (PL) ratio (twofold), the decrease in monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) : DGDG ratio, as well as the induction of lipid peroxidation in roots may represent symptoms of membrane injury. In shoots, the unsaturation level was markedly decreased in PC and phosphatidylglycerol (PG) after Cd exposure, but showed a significant increase in sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG), MGDG and DGDG. The content of PG and MGDG was decreased by about 65%, while PC accumulated to higher levels (4.4-fold increase). Taken together, these changes in the polar lipid unsaturation and composition are likely to be due to alterations in the glycerolipid pathway. These results also support the idea that the increase in overall unsaturation plays some role in enabling the plant to withstand the metal exposure.

Key words: cadmium, fatty acids, heavy metal stress, lipid peroxidation, polar lipids, unsaturation level, Zea mays.

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