Abscisic acid enhances lead translocation from the roots to the leaves and alleviates its toxicity in Populus × canescens.


State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Key Laboratory of Silviculture of The State Forestry Administration, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China. Electronic address: [Email]


To shed light on physiological mechanisms underlying abscisic-acid (ABA)-mediated lead (Pb) uptake, translocation and detoxification, we exposed Populus × canescens saplings to either 0 or 3 mM Pb2+ in combination with either 0 or 10 μM exogenous ABA. Pb was taken up by the roots and accumulated mainly in the cortex. A fraction of the Pb in the roots was translocated to the leaves, thereby resulting in decreased photosynthesis and biomass. Pb accumulation caused a burst of reactive oxygen species (ROS), with higher concentrations of total thiols, glutathione, and ascorbate in the roots and/or leaves. Exogenous ABA stimulated Pb uptake, decreased Pb deposition in the cortex, and enhanced Pb vascular loading in the roots. Exogenous ABA alleviated the Pb-induced reductions in photosynthesis and root biomass, and decreased Pb-triggered ROS overproduction in the roots and/or leaves. Correspondingly, exogenous ABA stimulated the mRNA levels of a few genes involved in Pb uptake, transport, and detoxification, including NRAMP1.4, ABCG40, FRD3.1, PCS1.1, and ABCC1.1. These results suggest that exogenous ABA enhances Pb uptake and translocation, and alleviates Pb toxicity in poplars through the ABA-induced movement of Pb from the root cortex to the vascular stele, and transcriptionally regulated key genes involved in Pb tolerance.


Detoxification,Heavy metal,Phytohormone,Populus,Transcriptional regulation,