Recent Published Articles

Transcriptomics and physiological analyses reveal that sulfur alleviates mercury toxicity in rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Fangbai Li , Yingmei Huang , Jicai Yi , Xiaomin Li


Received October 18, 2022,Revised , Accepted January 02, 2023, Available online January 07, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 10-25

Mercury (Hg) is one of the most dangerous contaminants and has sparked global concern since it poses a health risk to humans when consumed through rice. Sulfur (S) is a crucial component for plant growth, and S may reduce Hg accumulation in rice grains. However, the detailed effects of S and the mechanisms underlying S-mediated responses in Hg-stressed rice plants remain unclear. Currently, to investigate the effects of S addition on rice growth, Hg accumulation, physiological indexes, and gene expression profiles, rice seedlings were hydroponically treated with Hg (20 µmol/L HgCl2) and Hg plus elemental sulfur (100 mg/L). S application significantly reduced Hg accumulation in Hg-stressed rice roots and alleviated the inhibitory effects of Hg on rice growth. S addition significantly reduced Hg-induced reactive oxygen species generation, membrane lipid peroxidation levels, and activities of antioxidant enzymes while increasing glutathione content in leaves. Transcriptomic analysis of roots identified 3,411, 2,730, and 581 differentially expressed genes in the control (CK) vs. Hg, CK vs. Hg + S, and Hg vs. Hg + S datasets, respectively. The pathway of S-mediated biological metabolism fell into six groups: biosynthesis and metabolism, expression regulation, transport, stimulus response, oxidation reduction, and cell wall biogenesis. The majority of biological process-related genes were upregulated under Hg stress compared with CK treatment, but downregulated in the Hg + S treatment. The results provide transcriptomic and physiological evidence that S may be critical for plant Hg stress resistance and will help to develop strategies for reduction or phytoremediation of Hg contamination.

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