Visn. Hark. nac. agrar. univ., Ser. Biol., 2019, Issue 3 (48), p. 95-103


Yu. E. Kolupaev1, 2

1Dokuchaev Kharkiv National Agrarian University

(Kharkiv, Ukraine)


2Karazin Kharkiv National University

(Kharkiv, Ukraine)  

The review analyzes and summarizes the latest literature on the effect of heavy metals (HM) on plant hormonal systems. HM are natural constituent elements of the Earth's crust. Environmentally harmful human activities have caused significant levels of HM pollution in soil and aquatic resources. Elevated concentrations of HM, both essential and non-essential, can adversely affect growth, biomass accumulation, uptake of other mineral substances, photosynthesis, respiration, and water transport. Plant hormones auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic and salicylic acids, ethylene, jasmonates and brassinosteroids regulate growth and development of plants during an entire life cycle, and play a key role in adaptation to abiotic and biotic stressors. Plant hormones act as signaling molecules and stimulate responses to different adverse environmental conditions. Excess concentrations of HM can profoundly affect biosynthesis, transport, localization and conjugation of plant hormones, as well as hormonal signaling pathways and crosstalk. Plant tolerance to HM is formed as the result of direct or indirect action of plant hormones. This review discusses the involvement of individual classes of plant hormones in the adaptation of plants to heavy metals, the role of plant hormones in mitigating damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) exacerbated by high levels by pollution, the interaction between various hormones, and their effect on plant transcriptomes and proteome. Examples of successful exogenous treatment with hormones to stimulate plant resistance to the negative impact of high concentrations of HM are presented. In summary, a study of the hormonal system of plants improves our understanding of mechanisms of absorption, transport and detoxification of HM.

Key words: heavy metals, auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid, salicylic acid, ethylene, jasmonates, brassinosteroids, reactive oxygen species, resistance to stress



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