Melatonin mediates selenium-induced tolerance to cadmium stress in tomato plants

Meng Qi Li, Md Kamrul Hasan, Cai Xia Li, Golam Jalal Ahammed, Xiao Jian Xia, Kai Shi, Yan Hong Zhou, Russel J. Reiter, Jing Quan Yu, Ming Xing Xu, Jie Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Both selenium (Se) and melatonin reduce cadmium (Cd) uptake and mitigate Cd toxicity in plants. However, the relationship between Se and melatonin in Cd detoxification remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the influence of three forms of Se (selenocysteine, sodium selenite, and sodium selenate) on the biosynthesis of melatonin and the tolerance against Cd in tomato plants. Pretreatment with different forms of Se significantly induced the biosynthesis of melatonin and its precursors (tryptophan, tryptamine, and serotonin); selenocysteine had the most marked effect on melatonin biosynthesis. Furthermore, Se and melatonin supplements significantly increased plant Cd tolerance as evidenced by decreased growth inhibition, photoinhibition, and electrolyte leakage (EL). Se-induced Cd tolerance was compromised in melatonin-deficient plants following tryptophan decarboxylase (TDC) gene silencing. Se treatment increased the levels of glutathione (GSH) and phytochelatins (PCs), as well as the expression of GSH and PC biosynthetic genes in nonsilenced plants, but the effects of Se were compromised in TDC-silenced plants under Cd stress. In addition, Se and melatonin supplements reduced Cd content in leaves of nonsilenced plants, but Se-induced reduction in Cd content was compromised in leaves of TDC-silenced plants. Taken together, our results indicate that melatonin is involved in Se-induced Cd tolerance via the regulation of Cd detoxification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-302
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pineal research
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • cadmium
  • glutathione
  • melatonin
  • phytochelatins
  • selenium
  • tomato
  • tryptophan decarboxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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