Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB

Pb2+ exposure induced microsatellite instability in Pisum sativum in a locus related with glutamine metabolism.

PMID 23174146


Lead (Pb) is a toxic element, but its putative mutagenic effects in plant cells, using molecular markers, remain to unveil. To evaluate if Pb induces mutagenicity, Pisum sativum L. seedlings were exposed to Pb(2+) (up to 2000 mg L(-1)) for 28 days and the instability of microsatellites (or Simple Sequence Repeats, SSR) was analyzed in leaves and roots. The analysis of eight selected microsatellites (SSR1-SSR8) demonstrated that only at the highest dosage microsatellite instability (MSI) occurred, at a frequency of 4.2%. Changes were detected in one microsatellite (SSR6) that is inserted in the locus for glutamine synthetase. SSR6 products of roots exposed to the highest concentration of Pb were 3 bp larger than those of the control. Our data demonstrate that: (a) SSR technique is sensitive to detect Pb-induced mutagenicity in plants. MSI instability is Pb dose dependent and organ dependent (roots are more sensitive); (b) the Pb-sensitive SSR6 is inserted in the glutamine synthetase locus, with still unknown relation with functional changes of this enzyme; (c) Pb levels inducing MSI are much above the maximum admitted levels in some European Union countries for agricultural purpose waters. In conclusion, we propose here the potential use of SSR to evaluate Pb(2+)-induced mutagenicity, in combination with other genetic markers.