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Heavy Metal Stress and Mitogen Activated Kinase Transcription Factors in Plants: Exploring Heavy Metal-ROS Influences on Plant Signaling Pathways
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  • Lee-Ann Niekerk,
  • Arun Gokul,
  • Gerhard Basson,
  • Mihlali Badiwe,
  • Mbukeni Nkomo,
  • Ashwil Klein,
  • Marshall Keyster
Lee-Ann Niekerk
University of the Western Cape Department of Biotechnology
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Arun Gokul
University of the Free State - Qwaqwa Campus
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Gerhard Basson
University of the Western Cape Department of Biotechnology
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Mihlali Badiwe
Stellenbosch University Department of Plant Pathology
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Mbukeni Nkomo
University of Zululand
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Ashwil Klein
University of the Western Cape Department of Biotechnology
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Marshall Keyster
University of the Western Cape Department of Biotechnology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Due to their stationery nature, plants are exposed to a diverse range of biotic and abiotic stresses, of which heavy metals stress poses as one of the most detrimental abiotic stresses, targeting crucial and vital processes. Heavy metals instigate the over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and in order to mitigate the adverse effects of ROS, plants induce multiple defence mechanisms. Besides the negative implications of overproduction of ROS, these molecules play a multitude of signaling roles in plants, acting as a central player in the complex signaling network of cells. One of the signaling mechanisms it is involved in is the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, a signaling pathway used to transduce extracellular stimuli into intracellular responses. Plant MAPKs have been implicated in signaling of stresses, phytohormones and cell cycle cues. However, the influence of various heavy metals on MAPKs activation has not been well documented. In this review, we will attempt to address and summarize several aspects related to various heavy metal-induced ROS signaling, how these signals activate the MAPK cascade and the downstream transcription factors that instigates the plants response to these heavy metals. Moreover, we will highlight a modern research methodology that could characterize the novel genes associated with MAPKs and their roles in heavy metal stress.
11 Nov 2023Submitted to Plant, Cell & Environment
14 Nov 2023Assigned to Editor
14 Nov 2023Submission Checks Completed
19 Nov 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Nov 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned