Allium cepa var. agrogarum L. seedlings grown in nutrient solution were subjected to increasing concentrations of Cd2+ (0, 1, 10, 100 μM). Variation in tolerance to cadmium toxicity was studied based on chromosome aberrations, nucleoli structure and reconstruction of root tip cells, Cd accumulation and mineral metabolism, lipid peroxidation, and changes in the antioxidative defense system (SOD, CAT, POD) in leaves and roots of the seedlings. Cd induced chromosome aberrations including C-mitoses, chromosome bridges, chromosome fragments and chromosome stickiness. Cd induced the production of some particles of argyrophilic proteins scattered in the nuclei and even extruded from the nucleoli into the cytoplasm after a high Cd concentration or prolonged Cd stress, and nucleolar reconstruction was inhibited. In Cd2+-treated Allium cepa var. agrogarum plants the metal was largely restricted to the roots; very little of it was transported to aerial parts. Adding Cd2+ to the nutrient solution affected mineral metabolism. For example, at 100 μM Cd it reduced the levels of Mn, Cu and Zn in roots, bulbs and leaves. Malondialdehyde content in roots and leaves increased with treatment time and increased concentration of Cd. Antioxidant enzymes appear to play a key role in resistance to Cd under stress conditions.
We explored the use of the medicinally important plant Centella asiatica for expression of hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) strain AF2240. HN protein is the principal target for subunit vaccine development against NDV. The full-length HN gene was cloned into a plant expression construct driven by the CaMV 35S promoter and C-terminal fusion of green fluorescence protein (GFP) as reporter system. The recombinant expression construct was transformed via particle bombardment into C. asiatica callus. Transformants were screened using GFP and selected on MS medium supplemented with 15 mg/l hygromycin. The ~1.8 kb HN mRNA transcript was detected on the putative transformants using RT-PCR. The presence of HN protein expression was further confirmed through dot blot analysis using anti-NDV chicken serum. Here we report, for the first time, the use of a novel medicinal plant as a new platform for HN protein expression.