School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University (CSU), Changsha, 410083, China; Key Laboratory of Biometallurgy, Ministry of Education, Central South University (CSU), Changsha, 410083, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Brassinosteroids (BRs) play a crucial role in improving plant resistance to various environmental stresses. In this study, we aimed to explore the potential role of BRs in protecting plants from antimony (Sb) toxicity. In the in vitro agar-plate culture experiments, the level changes of BR in wide-type plants and BR biosynthesis mutant dwrf4-1 significantly affected the corresponding response of Arabidopsis to Sb stress. Increasing the BR content significantly enhanced Sb-induced root growth inhibition and lowering the BR level appeared to reduce the plant sensitivity to Sb stress. Foliar application of eBL, however, significantly decreased the Sb accumulation and peroxidation of membrane lipids, increased the contents of chlorophyll and proline, and further boosted and strengthened the antioxidant enzymes activities. These experiments demonstrated that BRs played an important role in regulating heavy metal stress responses in plants and exogenous foliar spray of eBL was an important method for alleviating toxicity of Sb.