Subcellular localisation of Cd and Zn in the leaves of a Cd-hyperaccumulating ecotype of Thlaspi caerulescens

Jian Feng Ma, Daisei Ueno, Fang Jie Zhao, Steve P. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)


Thlaspi caerulescens (Ganges ecotype) is able to accumulate large concentrations of cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in the leaves without showing any toxicity, suggesting a strong internal detoxification. The distribution of Cd and Zn in the leaves was investigated in the present study. Although the Cd and Zn concentrations in the epidermal tissues were 2-fold higher than those of mesophyll tissues, 65-70% of total leaf Cd and Zn were distributed in the mesophyll tissues, suggesting that mesophyll is a major storage site of the two metals in the leaves. To examine the subcellular localisation of Cd and Zn in mesophyll tissues, protoplasts and vacuoles were isolated from plants exposed to 50 μM Cd and Zn hydroponically. Pure protoplasts and vacuoles were obtained based on light-microscopic observation and the activities of marker enzymes of cytosol and vacuoles. Of the total Cd and Zn in the mesophyll tissues, 91% and 77%, respectively, were present in the protoplast, and all Cd and 91% Zn in the protoplast were localised in the vacuoles. Furthermore, about 70% and 86% of total Cd and Zn, respectively, in the leaves were extracted in the cell sap, suggesting that most Cd and Zn in the leaves is present in soluble form. These results indicate that internal detoxification of Cd and Zn in Thlaspi caerulescens leaves is achieved by vacuolar compartmentalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • Compartmentation
  • Hyperaccumulation
  • Thlaspi caerulescens
  • Vacuole
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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