Pb-induced toxicity in plants: disruption of cellular structure and cell membrane

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Research Paper 01/11/2014
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Pb-induced toxicity in plants: disruption of cellular structure and cell membrane

Gurpreet Kaur
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 5), 322-329, November 2014.
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Lead (Pb) is the most abundant heavy metal contaminant in the environment. Pb accumulates in plants and affects human health. Pb exposure causes oxidative stress and affects growth and physiology of plants; and disrupts various biochemical attributes. Pb causes oxidative stress in plant roots and produces free radicals, which in turn act on the unsaturated lipids in the membranes, leading to an autocatalytic chain reaction called lipid peroxidation and damages cell membrane. The current review focuses on how Pb disrupts cellular structure, damages cell membrane, alters the number and structure of mitochondria and disrupts nuclear integrity. Pb exposure induces structural anomalies in the plant roots. Root surface exhibit withered cells and dense growth of root hairs. Primarily Pb moves into apoplast, however, higher concentrations of Pb may interrupt the casparian strips of the endodermis allowing Pb ions to move into the vascular tissue of the plant. Increase in the number of mitochondria can be attributed to the enhanced demand of ATP generation to combat Pb-induced stress. The alterations in ultrastructure of nuclei relates directly to the decrease in transcriptional and translational activity.


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