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Cellular mechanisms for heavy metal detoxification and tolerance.

Journal of Experimental Botany

metabolism, Vacuoles, Plant Roots, Phytochelatins, pharmacokinetics, Metals, Heavy, Metallothionein, Metalloproteins, Inactivation, Metabolic, Heat-Shock Proteins, Glutathione, Chelating Agents, Cell Wall, Adaptation, Physiological

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      Heavy metals such as Cu and Zn are essential for normal plant growth, although elevated concentrations of both essential and non-essential metals can result in growth inhibition and toxicity symptoms. Plants possess a range of potential cellular mechanisms that may be involved in the detoxification of heavy metals and thus tolerance to metal stress. These include roles for the following: for mycorrhiza and for binding to cell wall and extracellular exudates; for reduced uptake or efflux pumping of metals at the plasma membrane; for chelation of metals in the cytosol by peptides such as phytochelatins; for the repair of stress-damaged proteins; and for the compartmentation of metals in the vacuole by tonoplast-located transporters. This review provides a broad overview of the evidence for an involvement of each mechanism in heavy metal detoxification and tolerance.

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