Characterization of glutathione reductase and catalase in the fronds of two Pteris ferns upon arsenic exposure

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2009 Oct;47(10):960-5. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2009.05.009. Epub 2009 Jun 12.


To better understand the mechanisms of plant tolerance to high concentration of arsenic, we characterized two antioxidant enzymes, glutathione reductase (GR) and catalase (CAT), in the fronds of Pteris vittata, an arsenic-hyperaccumulating fern, and Pteris ensiformis, an arsenic-sensitive fern. The induction, activation and apparent kinetics of GR and CAT in the plants upon arsenic exposure were investigated. Under arsenic exposure (sodium arsenate), CAT activity in P. vittata was increased by 1.5-fold, but GR activity was unchanged. Further, GR was not inhibited or activated by the arsenic in assays. No significant differences in K(m) and V(max) values of GR or CAT were observed between the two ferns. However, CAT activity in P. vittata was activated by 200 microM arsenate up to 300% compared to the control. Similar but much smaller increases were observed for P. ensiformis and purified bovine liver catalase (133% and 120%, respectively). This research reports, for the first time, the activation of CAT by arsenic in P. vittata. The increased CAT activities may allow P. vittata to more efficiently mediate arsenic-induced stress by preparing the fern for the impeding production of reactive oxygen species resulting from arsenate reduction to arsenite in the fronds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenates / pharmacology*
  • Catalase / metabolism*
  • Catalysis / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione Reductase / metabolism*
  • Herbicides / pharmacology
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pteris / classification
  • Pteris / enzymology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Arsenates
  • Herbicides
  • Plant Proteins
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Reductase
  • arsenic acid