The Arabidopsis glutathione transferase gene family displays complex stress regulation and co-silencing multiple genes results in altered metabolic sensitivity to oxidative stress

Plant J. 2009 Apr;58(1):53-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03761.x. Epub 2009 Jan 19.


Plant glutathione transferases (GSTs) are induced by diverse biotic and abiotic stimuli, and are important for protecting plants against oxidative damage. We have studied the primary transcriptional stress response of the entire Arabidopsis GST family to seven stresses, including both biotic and abiotic stimuli, with a focus on early changes in gene expression. Our results indicate that individual GST genes are highly specific in their induction patterns. Furthermore, we have been able to link individual GSTs to particular stress stimuli. Using RNAi, we successfully co-silenced a group of four phi GSTs that represent some of the most highly expressed GST genes. Despite a marked reduction in total phi GST protein levels, the transgenic plants showed no reduction in GST activity as measured using the model substrate 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB), and appeared to have surprisingly robust physical phenotypes during stress. However, analysis of metabolite pools showed oxidation of the glutathione pool in the RNAi lines, and we observed alterations in carbon and nitrogen compounds following salicylic acid and hydrogen peroxide stress treatments, indicative of oxidative modification of primary metabolism. Thus, there appears to be a high degree of functional redundancy within the Arabidopsis GST family, with extensive disruption being required to reveal the roles of phi GSTs in protection against oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi / genetics
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Metabolomics
  • Multigene Family*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / drug effects
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / enzymology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Salicylates / pharmacology
  • Seedlings / drug effects
  • Seedlings / genetics
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene
  • RNA, Plant
  • Salicylates
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Glutathione S-Transferase pi
  • Glutathione