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A proteomic analysis of the Ni hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum lesbiacum was carried out to identify proteins that may play a role in the exceptional degree of Ni tolerance and accumulation characteristic of this metallophyte. Of the 816 polypeptides detected in root tissue by 2D SDS-PAGE, eleven increased and one decreased in abundance relative to total protein after 6-week-old plants were transferred from a standard nutrient solution containing trace concentrations of Ni to a moderately high Ni treatment (0.3 mM NiSO4) for 48 h. These polypeptides were identified by tandem mass spectrometry and the majority were found to be involved in sulphur metabolism (consistent with a re-allocation of sulphur towards cysteine and glutathione), protection against reactive oxygen species, or heat-shock response. In contrast, very few polypeptides were found to change in abundance in root or shoot tissue after plants were exposed for 28 days to 0.03 mM NiSO4, a concentration representing the optimum for growth of this species but sufficient to lead to hyperaccumulation of Ni in the shoot. Under these conditions, constitutively expressed genes in this highly Ni-tolerant species may be sufficient to allow for effective chelation and sequestration of Ni without the need for additional protein synthesis.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





627 - 641


Brassicaceae, DNA, Complementary, Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional, Nickel, Oxidation-Reduction, Peptides, Plant Roots, Proteome, Proteomics, RNA, Plant, Sensitivity and Specificity, Species Specificity, Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization, Sulfur