BMC plant biology

Accumulation and cellular toxicity of aluminum in seedling of Pinus massoniana.

PMID 25267390


Masson pine (Pinus massoniana) is one of the most important timber species with adaptable, fast growing, versatile advantages in southern China. Despite considerable research efforts, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of A1 toxicity and resistance in P. massoniana are still poorly understood. The effects of Al on uptake and translocation of Al and other minerals, cell division and nucleolus in P. massoniana were investigated. The results indicated that Al accumulated mainly in the roots, and small amounts were transported to aboveground organs. In the presence of Al, the contents of Mg and Fe in stems increased and decreased in roots. Accumulation of Mn in the organs was inhibited significantly. Evidence from cellular experiments showed that Al had an inhibitory effect on the root growth at all concentrations (10⁻⁵ - 10⁻² M) used. Chromosome fragments, chromosome bridges, C-mitosis and chromosome stickiness were induced during mitosis in the root tip cells. Al induced the formation of abnormal microtubule (MT) arrays, consisting of discontinuous wavy MTs or short MT fragments at the cell periphery. MT organization and function of the mitotic spindle and phragmoplast were severely disturbed. The nucleolus did not disaggregate normally and still remained its characteristic structure during metaphase. Nucleolar particles containing argyrophilic proteins were accumulated and leached out from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Evidence confirmed that these proteins contained nucleophosmin (B23), nucleolin (C23) and fibrillarin. Western immunoblot analysis revealed that the contents of three nucleolar proteins increased significantly. Based on the information provided in this article, it is concluded that root tips of plants are the most sensitive organ to environmental stresses and the accumulation of Al ions primarily is in roots of P. massoniana, and small amounts of Al are transported to aboveground. Root apical meristems play a key role in the immediate reaction to stress factors by activating signal cascades to the other plant organs. Al induces a series of the cellular toxic changes concerning with cell division and nucleolus. The data presented above can be also used as valuable and early markers in cellular changes induced by metals for the evaluation of metal contamination.