TOLERANCE AGAINST HEAVY METAL TOXICITY IN CYANOBACTERIA: ROLE OF ANTIOXIDANT DEFENSE SYSTEM
Keywords:Cyanobacteria, Reactive oxygen species, Oxidative stress, Antioxidant enzymes
The toxicity of heavy metals is reviewed with reference to Cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria also known as blue green algae are primitive photosynthetic prokaryotic microorganism which has high economic importance due to various bioactive compounds. Cyanobacteria are exposed to heavy metal stress since these are widely distributed. Heavy metal enters into the cell through various interactions between metal ions and functional groups present at the cell surface and cause toxicity. Heavy metals also cause oxidative stress by generation of reactive oxygen species, including superoxide, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical which are highly reactive and toxic and cause damage to nucleic acid, protein, and lipid. Cyanobacteria have evolved strategies to overcome the effect of reactive oxygen species that include antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase and Glutathione reductase.
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