OASTL-A1 functions as a cytosolic cysteine synthase and affects arsenic tolerance in rice

Chengcheng Wang, Lihua Zheng, Zhong Tang, Shengkai Sun, Jian Feng Ma, Xin Yuan Huang, Fang Jie Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Arsenic (As) contamination in paddy soil can cause phytotoxicity and elevated As accumulation in rice grains. Arsenic detoxification is closely linked to sulfur assimilation, but the genes involved have not been described in rice. In this study, we characterize the function of OASTL-A1, an O-acetylserine(thiol) lyase, in cysteine biosynthesis and detoxification of As in rice. Tissue expression analysis revealed that OsOASTL-A1 is mainly expressed in roots at the vegetative growth stage and in nodes at the reproductive stage. Furthermore, the expression of OsOASTL-A1 in roots was strongly induced by As exposure. Transgenic rice plants expressing pOsOASTL-A1::GUS (β-glucuronidase) indicated that OsOASTL-A1 was strongly expressed in the outer cortex and the vascular cylinder in the root mature zone. Subcellular localization using OsOASTL-A1:eGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) fusion protein showed that OsOASTL-A1 was localized to the cytosol. In vivo and in vitro enzyme activity assays showed that OsOASTL-A1 possessed the O-acetylserine(thiol) lyase activity. Knockout of OsOASTL-A1 led to significantly lower levels of cysteine, glutathione, and phytochelatins in roots and increased sensitivity to arsenate stress. Furthermore, the osoastl-a1 knockout mutants reduced As accumulation in the roots, but increased As accumulation in shoots. We conclude that OsOASTL-A1 is the cytosolic O-acetylserine(thiol) lyase that plays an important role in non-protein thiol biosynthesis in roots for As detoxification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3678-3689
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2020


  • Arsenic
  • O-acetylserine(thiol) lyase
  • cysteine synthase
  • phytochelatin
  • rice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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