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Integration of transcriptome and metabolome analyses reveals the mechanistic basis for cadmium accumulation in maize


Lin, K and Zeng, M and Williams, DV and Hu, W and Shabala, S and Zhou, Meixue and Coa, F, Integration of transcriptome and metabolome analyses reveals the mechanistic basis for cadmium accumulation in maize, iScience, 25, (12) Article 105484. ISSN 2589-0042 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International(CC BY-NC-ND) license (

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.isci.2022.105484


Cadmium (Cd) pollution in soil has become a major environmental issue worldwide. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of low grain-Cd accumulation (GCA) in maize is still largely unknown. Herein, we report the mechanistic basis for low GCA in maize by a multiomics approach. The low GCA genotype L63 showed normal vacuolar formation and a lower capacity of xylem loading of Cd than the high-accumulator L42 under Cd stress. Transcriptomic sequencing identified 84 low-GCA-associated genes which are mainly involved in the S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) cycle, metal transport, and vacuolar sequestration. A metabolome analysis revealed that L63 plants had a more active SAM cycle and a greater capacity for terpenoid synthesis and phenylalanine metabolism than L42. Combining the analysis of transcriptome and metabolome characterized several genes as key genes involved in the determination of Cd accumulation. Our study identifies a mechanistic basis for low Cd accumulation in maize grains and provides candidate genes for genetic improvement of crops.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:maize gene for Cd accumulation
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Agrochemicals and biocides (incl. application)
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Grains and seeds
Objective Field:Wheat
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
UTAS Author:Zhou, Meixue (Professor Meixue Zhou)
ID Code:154332
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-11-23
Last Modified:2022-12-13

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