Yang, G., Mei, T., Yuan, H., Zhang, W., Chen, L., Xue, J., Wu, L. and Wang, Y. Bystander/Abscopal Effects Induced in Intact Arabidopsis Seeds by Low-Energy Heavy-Ion Radiation. Radiat. Res. 170, 372–380 (2008).
To date, radiation-induced bystander effects have been observed largely in in vitro single-cell systems; verification of both the effects and the mechanisms in multicellular systems in vivo is important. Previously we showed that bystander/ abscopal effects can be induced by irradiating the shoot apical meristem cells in Arabidopsis embryos. In this study, we investigated the in vivo effects induced by 30 keV 40Ar ions in intact Arabidopsis seeds and traced the postembryonic development of both irradiated and nonirradiated shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem cells. Since the range of 30 keV 40Ar ions in water is about 0.07 μm, which is less than the distance from the testa to shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem in Arabidopsis seeds (about 100 μm), the incident low-energy heavy ions generally stop in the proximal surface. Our results showed that, after the 30 keV 40Ar-ion irradiation of shielded and nonshielded Arabidopsis seeds at a fluence of 1.5 × 1017 ions/cm2, short- and long-term postembryonic development, including germination, root hair differentiation, primary root elongation, lateral root initiation and survival, was significantly inhibited. Since shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem cells were not damaged directly by radiation, the results suggested that a damage signal(s) is transferred from the irradiated cells to shoot apical meristem and root apical meristem cells and causes the ultimate developmental alterations, indicating that long-distance bystander/ abscopal effects exist in the intact seed. A further study of mechanisms showed that the effects are associated with either enhanced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) or decreased auxin-dependent transcription in postembryonic development. Treatment with the ROS scavenger dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or synthetic auxin 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) can significantly reverse both the alterations in postembryonic development and auxin-dependent transcription, suggesting that ROS and auxin-dependent transcription processes play essential roles in the low-energy heavy-ion radiation-induced long-distance bystander/abscopal effects in the intact organism.