Low glutathione regulates gene expression and the redox potentials of the nucleus and cytosol in Arabidopsis thaliana

Daniel Schnaubelt, Guillaume Queval, Yingping Dong, Pedro Diaz-Vivancos, Matome Eugene Makgopa, Gareth Howell, Ambra De Simone, Juan Bai, Matthew A. Hannah, Christine H. Foyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


Reduced glutathione (GSH) is considered to exert a strong influence on cellular redox homeostasis and to regulate gene expression, but these processes remain poorly characterized. Severe GSH depletion specifically inhibited root meristem development, while low root GSH levels decreased lateral root densities. The redox potential of the nucleus and cytosol of Arabidopsis thaliana roots determined using roGFP probes was between -300 and -320mV. Growth in the presence of the GSH-synthesis inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) increased the nuclear and cytosolic redox potentials to approximately -260mV. GSH-responsive genes including transcription factors (SPATULA, MYB15, MYB75), proteins involved in cell division, redox regulation (glutaredoxinS17, thioredoxins, ACHT5 and TH8) and auxin signalling (HECATE), were identified in the GSH-deficient root meristemless 1-1 (rml1-1) mutant, and in other GSH-synthesis mutants (rax1-1, cad2-1, pad2-1) as well as in the wild type following the addition of BSO. Inhibition of auxin transport had no effect on organ GSH levels, but exogenous auxin decreased the root GSH pool. We conclude that GSH depletion significantly increases the redox potentials of the nucleus and cytosol, and causes arrest of the cell cycle in roots but not shoots, with accompanying transcript changes linked to altered hormone responses, but not oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-279
Number of pages14
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number2
Early online date11 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Auxin signalling
  • Cell cycle
  • Glutaredoxins
  • Lateral root densities
  • Nuclei
  • Redox signalling
  • Thioredoxins
  • root meristem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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