Comparative proteomic analysis reveals the role of hydrogen sulfide in the adaptation of the alpine plant Lamiophlomis rotata to altitude gradient in the Northern Tibetan Plateau

Planta. 2015 Apr;241(4):887-906. doi: 10.1007/s00425-014-2209-9. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


We found the novel role of hydrogen sulfide in the adaptation of the alpine plant to altitude gradient in the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Alpine plants have developed strategies to survive the extremely cold conditions prevailing at high altitudes; however, the mechanism underlying the evolution of these strategies remains unknown. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is an essential messenger that enhances plant tolerance to environmental stress; however, its role in alpine plant adaptation to environmental stress has not been reported until now. In this work, we conducted a comparative proteomics analysis to investigate the dynamic patterns of protein expression in Lamiophlomis rotata plants grown at three different altitudes. We identified and annotated 83 differentially expressed proteins. We found that the levels and enzyme activities of proteins involved in H2S biosynthesis markedly increased at higher altitudes, and that H2S accumulation increased. Exogenous H2S application increased antioxidant enzyme activity, which reduced ROS (reactive oxygen species) damage, and GSNOR (S-nitrosoglutathione reductase) activity, which reduced RNS (reactive nitrogen species) damage, and activated the downstream defense response, resulting in protein degradation and proline and sugar accumulation. However, such defense responses could be reversed by applying H2S biosynthesis inhibitors. Based on these findings, we conclude that L. rotata uses multiple strategies to adapt to the alpine stress environment and that H2S plays a central role during this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • Altitude
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Lamiaceae / drug effects*
  • Lamiaceae / physiology
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Plant Leaves / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Tibet


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Aldehyde Oxidoreductases
  • formaldehyde dehydrogenase, glutathione-independent
  • Nitrogen
  • Hydrogen Sulfide