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      High resolution imaging of subcellular glutathione concentrations by quantitative immunoelectron microscopy in different leaf areas of Arabidopsis

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          ► Determination of subcellular glutathione concentrations in different Arabidopsis leaf areas. ► Measurement of cell volumes and glutathione gold particle density by TEM. ► Glutathione concentrations of up to 15 mM were calculated for mitochondria. ► Main differences of glutathione contents between the leaf areas in vacuoles and mitochondria.


          Glutathione is an important antioxidant and redox buffer in plants. It fulfills many important roles during plant development, defense and is essential for plant metabolism. Even though the compartment specific roles of glutathione during abiotic and biotic stress situations have been studied in detail there is still great lack of knowledge about subcellular glutathione concentrations within the different leaf areas at different stages of development.

          In this study a method is described that allows the calculation of compartment specific glutathione concentrations in all cell compartments simultaneously in one experiment by using quantitative immunogold electron microscopy combined with biochemical methods in different leaf areas of Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 (center of the leaf, leaf apex, leaf base and leaf edge). The volume of subcellular compartments in the mesophyll of Arabidopsis was found to be similar to other plants. Vacuoles covered the largest volume within a mesophyll cell and increased with leaf age (up to 80% in the leaf apex of older leaves). Behind vacuoles, chloroplasts covered the second largest volume (up to 20% in the leaf edge of the younger leaves) followed by nuclei (up to 2.3% in the leaf edge of the younger leaves), mitochondria (up to 1.6% in the leaf apex of the younger leaves), and peroxisomes (up to 0.3% in the leaf apex of the younger leaves). These values together with volumes of the mesophyll determined by stereological methods from light and electron micrographs and global glutathione contents measured with biochemical methods enabled the determination of subcellular glutathione contents in mM.

          Even though biochemical investigations did not reveal differences in global glutathione contents, compartment specific differences could be observed in some cell compartments within the different leaf areas. Highest concentrations of glutathione were always found in mitochondria, where values in a range between 8.7 mM (in the apex of younger leaves) and 15.1 mM (in the apex of older leaves) were found. The second highest amount of glutathione was found in nuclei (between 5.5 mM and 9.7 mM in the base and the center of younger leaves, respectively) followed by peroxisomes (between 2.6 mM in the edge of younger leaves and 4.8 mM in the base of older leaves, respectively) and the cytosol (2.8 mM in the edge of younger and 4.5 mM in the center of older leaves, respectively). Chloroplasts contained rather low amounts of glutathione (between 1 mM and 1.4 mM). Vacuoles had the lowest concentrations of glutathione (0.01 mM and 0.14 mM) but showed large differences between the different leaf areas. Clear differences in glutathione contents between the different leaf areas could only be found in vacuoles and mitochondria revealing that glutathione in the later cell organelle accumulated with leaf age to concentrations of up to 15 mM and that concentrations of glutathione in vacuoles are quite low in comparison to the other cell compartments.

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          Most cited references 94

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          Redox regulation in photosynthetic organisms: signaling, acclimation, and practical implications.

          Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have multifaceted roles in the orchestration of plant gene expression and gene-product regulation. Cellular redox homeostasis is considered to be an "integrator" of information from metabolism and the environment controlling plant growth and acclimation responses, as well as cell suicide events. The different ROS forms influence gene expression in specific and sometimes antagonistic ways. Low molecular antioxidants (e.g., ascorbate, glutathione) serve not only to limit the lifetime of the ROS signals but also to participate in an extensive range of other redox signaling and regulatory functions. In contrast to the low molecular weight antioxidants, the "redox" states of components involved in photosynthesis such as plastoquinone show rapid and often transient shifts in response to changes in light and other environmental signals. Whereas both types of "redox regulation" are intimately linked through the thioredoxin, peroxiredoxin, and pyridine nucleotide pools, they also act independently of each other to achieve overall energy balance between energy-producing and energy-utilizing pathways. This review focuses on current knowledge of the pathways of redox regulation, with discussion of the somewhat juxtaposed hypotheses of "oxidative damage" versus "oxidative signaling," within the wider context of physiological function, from plant cell biology to potential applications.
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            Glutathione Is a Key Player in Metal-Induced Oxidative Stress Defenses

            Since the industrial revolution, the production, and consequently the emission of metals, has increased exponentially, overwhelming the natural cycles of metals in many ecosystems. Metals display a diverse array of physico-chemical properties such as essential versus non-essential and redox-active versus non-redox-active. In general, all metals can lead to toxicity and oxidative stress when taken up in excessive amounts, imposing a serious threat to the environment and human health. In order to cope with different kinds of metals, plants possess defense strategies in which glutathione (GSH; γ-glu-cys-gly) plays a central role as chelating agent, antioxidant and signaling component. Therefore, this review highlights the role of GSH in: (1) metal homeostasis; (2) antioxidative defense; and (3) signal transduction under metal stress. The diverse functions of GSH originate from the sulfhydryl group in cysteine, enabling GSH to chelate metals and participate in redox cycling.
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              Photosynthesis, photorespiration, and light signalling in defence responses.

              Visible light is the basic energetic driver of plant biomass production through photosynthesis. The constantly fluctuating availability of light and other environmental factors means that the photosynthetic apparatus must be able to operate in a dynamic fashion appropriate to the prevailing conditions. Dynamic regulation is achieved through an array of homeostatic control mechanisms that both respond to and influence cellular energy and reductant status. In addition, light availability and quality are continuously monitored by plants through photoreceptors. Outside the laboratory growth room, it is within the context of complex changes in energy and signalling status that plants must regulate pathways to deal with biotic challenges, and this can be influenced by changes in the highly energetic photosynthetic pathways and in the turnover of the photosynthetic machinery. Because of this, defence responses are neither simple nor easily predictable, but rather conditioned by the nutritional and signalling status of the plant cell. This review discusses recent data and emerging concepts of how recognized defence pathways interact with and are influenced by light-dependent processes. Particular emphasis is placed on the potential roles of the chloroplast, photorespiration, and photoreceptor-associated pathways in regulating the outcome of interactions between plants and pathogenic organisms.

                Author and article information

                Micron (Oxford, England : 1993)
                Pergamon Press
                February 2013
                February 2013
                : 45
                : C
                : 119-128
                [a ]University of Graz, Institute of Plant Sciences, Schubertstrasse 51, A-8010 Graz, Austria
                [b ]Institute for Crop and Soil Science, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (JKI), Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +43 316 380 5635; fax: +43 316 380 9880. bernd.zechmann@
                © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.


                Microscopy & Imaging

                transmission electron microscopy, mitochondria, glutathione, arabidopsis


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