The molecular mechanism of zinc and cadmium stress response in plants

Y.F. Lin, M.G.M. Aarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

305 Citations (Scopus)


When plants are subjected to high metal exposure, different plant species take different strategies in response to metal-induced stress. Largely, plants can be distinguished in four groups: metal-sensitive species, metal-resistant excluder species, metal-tolerant non-hyperaccumulator species, and metal-hypertolerant hyperaccumulator species, each having different molecular mechanisms to accomplish their resistance/tolerance to metal stress or reduce the negative consequences of metal toxicity. Plant responses to heavy metals are molecularly regulated in a process called metal homeostasis, which also includes regulation of the metal-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling pathway. ROS generation and signaling plays an important duel role in heavy metal detoxification and tolerance. In this review, we will compare the different molecular mechanisms of nutritional (Zn) and non-nutritional (Cd) metal homeostasis between metal-sensitive and metal-adapted species. We will also include the role of metal-induced ROS signal transduction in this comparison, with the aim to provide a comprehensive overview on how plants cope with Zn/Cd stress at the molecular level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3187-3206
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • hyperaccumulator thlaspi-caerulescens
  • heavy-metal detoxification
  • sedum-alfredii hance
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • wrky53 transcription factor
  • quantitative trait locus
  • induced oxidative stress
  • programmed cell-death
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • nicotianam

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