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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

H+/phenanthrene Symporter and Aquaglyceroporin Are Implicated in Phenanthrene Uptake by Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Roots


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 1, p. 188-196
    Received: Aug 2, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): lxzhou@njau.edu.cn
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  1. Xinhua Zhana,
  2. Xiaobin Zhanga,
  3. Xiaoming Yina,
  4. Hengliang Maa,
  5. Jianru Lianga,
  6. Lixiang Zhou *a,
  7. Tinghui Jiangab and
  8. Guohua Xua
  1. a College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 210095, P.R. China
    b present address: Greenstar Plant Products Inc., 9430 198 St, Langley, BC, V1M 3C8, Canada. Assigned to Associate Editor Dongqiang Zhu


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous organic pollutants that are toxic to human and nonhuman organisms. Dietary intake of PAHs is a dominant route of exposure for the general population because food crops are a major source of dietary PAHs. The mechanism for crop root uptake of PAHs remains unclear. Here we reveal that wheat root uptake of PAHs involves active and passive processes. The passive uptake is mercury and glycerol dependent. Mercury and glycerol inhibit uptake, indicating that aquaglyceroporins sensitive to mercury contribute to passive uptake. Active uptake is mediated by a phenanthrene/H+ symporter. The electrical response of wheat roots triggered by phenanthrene consists of two sequential phases: depolarization followed by repolarization. The depolarization is phenanthrene concentration dependent, with saturation kinetics that have an apparent Km of 10.8 μmol L−1. As uptake proceeds, external solution pH increase is noticed. Lower pH favors the uptake. Vanadate and 2,4-dinitrophenol suppress the electrical response to phenanthrene and phenanthrene uptake, suggesting that plasma membrane H+–ATPase is involved in the establishment of an electrochemical proton gradient acting as a driving force for active uptake. Therefore, it is suggested that aquaglyceroporin and phenanthrene/H+ symporter are implicated in phenanthrene uptake. Our results provide insight into PAH uptake mechanism in wheat roots that is relevant to strategies for reducing PAH accumulation in wheat for food safety, improving phytoremediation of PAH-contaminated soils or water by agronomic practices and genetic modification to target remedial plants for higher PAH uptake capacity.

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