1992 Volume 15 Issue 12 Pages 667-671
We studied cellular resistance to copper of plant cells Polygonum cuspidatum. When callus of P. cuspidatum was incubated on medium containing 100 μM cupric sulfate, the callus grew as well as the control callus did. The copper content of the callus, however, was elevated to a similar level of the medium. When cell extracts of callus exposed to 100 μM cupric sulfate were fractionated by gel filtration chromatography, a specific copper peak was eluted at the region of molecular weights between 4000 and 10000. Since an appearance of the copper-containing materials was inhibited by buthionine sulfoximine and the partially purified copper-containing materials contained only three amino acids : glutamic acid, glycine and cystine, the materials were supposed to be γ-glutamyl peptides phytochelatins. Callus of P. cuspidatum synthesized phytochelatins from 50 μM cupric sulfate and maximally at 100-150 μM cupric sulfate. When induction of phytochelatins by another heavy metal, zinc, was analyzed, the callus, however, did not synthesize phytochelatins on exposure to zinc sulfate up to 1 mM. These findings suggested that phytochelatins were required for resistance to copper but probably not to zinc in the plant cells.