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Important Roles of Thiols in Methylmercury Uptake and Translocation by Rice Plants...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Environmental Science & Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 9

The bioaccumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) in rice is a significant concern due to its potential risk to humans. Thiols have been known to affect MeHg bioavailability in microorganisms, but how thiols influence MeHg accumulation in rice plants remains unknown. Here, we investigated effects of common low-molecular-weight thiols, including cysteine (Cys), glutathione (GSH), and penicillamine (PEN), on MeHg uptake and translocation by rice plants. Results show that rice roots can rapidly take up MeHg, and this process is influenced by the types and concentrations of thiols in the system. The presence of Cys facilitated MeHg uptake by roots and translocation to shoots, while GSH could only promote MeHg uptake, but not translocation, by roots. Conversely, PEN significantly inhibited MeHg uptake and translocation to shoots. Using labeled 13Cys assays, we also found that MeHg uptake was coupled with Cys accumulation in rice roots. Moreover, analyses of comparative transcriptomics revealed that key genes associated with metallothionein and SULTR transporter families may be involved in MeHg uptake. These findings provide new insights into the uptake and translocation of MeHg in rice plants and suggest potential roles of thiol attributes in affecting MeHg bioavailability and bioaccumulation in rice.