The Biological Functions of Glutathione Revisited in Arabidopsis Transgenic Plants with Altered Glutathione Levels

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Xiang, Chengbin
Werner, Bonnie
Christensen, E'Lise
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Oliver, David
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The Botany Graduate Program offers work for the degrees Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy with a graduate major in Botany, and minor work for students majoring in other departments or graduate programs. Within the Botany Graduate Major, one of the following areas of specialization may be designated: aquatic and wetland ecology, cytology, ecology, morphology, mycology, physiology and molecular biology, or systematics and evolution. Relevant graduate courses that may be counted toward completion of these degrees are offered by the Departments of EEOB and GDCB, and by other departments and programs. The specific requirements for each student’s course distribution and research activities are set by the Program of Study Committee established for each student individually, and must satisfy all requirements of the Graduate College (See Index). GRE (and if necessary, TOEFL) scores are required of all applicants; students are encouraged to contact faculty prior to application.
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A functional analysis of the role of glutathione in protecting plants from environmental stress was undertaken by studying Arabidopsis that had been genetically modified to have altered glutathione levels. The steady-state glutathione concentration in Arabidopsis plants was modified by expressing the cDNA for γ-glutamyl-cysteine synthetase (GSH1) in both the sense and antisense orientation. The resulting plants had glutathione levels that ranged between 3% and 200% of the level in wild-type plants. Arabidopsis plants with low glutathione levels were hypersensitive to Cd due to the limited capacity of these plants to make phytochelatins. Plants with the lowest levels of reduced glutathione (10% of wild type) were sensitive to as little as 5 μM Cd, whereas those with 50% wild-type levels required higher Cd concentrations to inhibit growth. Elevating glutathione levels did not increase metal resistance. It is interesting that the plants with low glutathione levels were also less able to accumulate anthocyanins supporting a role for glutathione S-transferases for anthocyanin formation or for the vacuolar localization and therefore accumulation of these compounds. Plants with less than 5% of wild-type glutathione levels were smaller and more sensitive to environmental stress but otherwise grew normally.


This article is from Plant Physiology 126, no. 2 (June 2001): 564–574, doi:10.1104/pp.126.2.564.

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Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2001