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Copper induced root growth inhibition of Allium cepa var. Agrogarum L. involves disturbances in cell division and DNA damage

  • Rong Qin
  • Congyue Wang
  • Da Chen
  • Lars Olof Björn
  • Shaoshan Li
Publishing year: 2015-04-21
Language: English
Pages: 1045-1055
Publication/Series: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Volume: 34
Issue: 5
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: SETAC and Alliance Communications Group

Abstract english

Copper (Cu) is considered to be an indispensable microelement for plants. Excessive Cu, however, is toxic and disturbs several
processes in the plant. The present study addressed the effects of ionic Cu (2.0 mMand 8.0mM) on mitosis, the microtubule cytoskeleton,
and DNA in root tip cells of Allium cepa var. agrogarum L. to better understand Cu toxicity on plant root systems. The results indicated that Cu accumulated in roots and that root growth was inhibited dramatically in Cu treatment groups. Chromosomal aberrations (for example, C-mitosis, chromosome bridges, chromosome stickiness, and micronucleus) were observed, and the mitotic index decreased during Cu treatments at different concentrations. Microtubules were one of the target sites of Cu toxicity in root tip meristematic cells, and Cu exposure substantially impaired microtubule arrangements. The content of a-tubulin decreased following 36 h of exposure to 2.0mM or 8.0mM of Cu in comparison with the control group. Copper increased DNA damage and suppressed cell cycle progression. The above toxic effects became more serious with increasing Cu concentration and prolonged exposure time.


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Botany
  • Copper
  • Mitosis
  • Microtubule
  • DNA damage
  • DNA syntyhesis


  • ISSN: 0730-7268
Lars Olof Björn
E-mail: lars_olof [dot] bjorn [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 72 53