The role of the kinase OXI1 in cadmium- and copper-induced molecular responses in Arabidopsis thaliana

Karen Smeets*, Kelly Opdenakker, Tony Remans, Celine Forzani, Heribert Hirt, Jaco Vangronsveld, Ann Cuypers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The hypothesis that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling is important in plant defences against metal stress has become accepted in recent years. To test the role of oxidative signal-inducible kinase (OXI1) in metal-induced oxidative signalling, the responses of oxi1 knockout lines to environmentally realistic cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) concentrations were compared with those of wild-type plants. A relationship between OXI1 and the activation of lipoxygenases and other initiators of oxylipin production was observed under these stress conditions, suggesting that lipoxygenase-1 may be a downstream component of OXI1 signalling. Metal-specific differences in OXI1 action were observed. For example, OXI1 was required for the up-regulation of antioxidative defences such as catalase in leaves and Fe-superoxide dismutase in roots, following exposure to Cu, processes that may involve the MEKK1-MKK2-WRKY25 cascade. Moreover, the induction of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutases in Cu-exposed leaves was regulated by OXI1 in a manner that involves fluctuations in the expression of miRNA398. These observations contrast markedly with the responses to Cd exposure, which also involves OXI1-independent pathways but rather involves changes in components mediating intracellular communication. Knowledge on the mechanism of action is necessary when different stress factors are compared. Via knock-out experiments, the importance of OXI1 action appeared metal-specific. OXI1 is required for the cellular defence activation during copper stress, which contrasts markedly with the responses to cadmium exposure. These also involve OXI1-independent pathways and components mediating intracellular communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1238
Number of pages11
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Heavy metals
  • Oxidative stress
  • Signalling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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