Author: H. Moussa 1
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  • 1 Atomic Energy Authority Department of Radioisotopes Dokki, Giza Egypt
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The effect of gamma irradiation on Vicia faba L. plants was investigated by exposing dry seeds to doses ranging from 0 to 100 Gray (Gy) and studying the activities and isozyme patterns of the key enzymes involved in oxidative stress defence, such as superoxide dismutases (SOD, EC 1.15.1.1), catalases (CAT, EC 1.11.1.6), peroxidases (POX, EC 1.11.1.7), ascorbate peroxidases (APOX, EC 1.11.1.11), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR, EC 1.6.5.4) and glutathione reductase (GR, EC 1.6.4.2), as well as the activity of an enzyme involved in a specific intermediary metabolic pathway, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G 6 PDH, EC 1.1.1.49). The H 2 O 2 contents of faba bean leaves were also measured. None of the γ-irradiation doses used (0–100 Gy) had any effect on the activity of MDHAR, but they increased the enzyme activities of GR, APOX, SOD and G 6 PDH. Gamma rays at 20 Gy decreased the H 2 O 2 content, but the 100 Gy dose significantly increased the H 2 O 2 content compared with the non-irradiated plants. The results implied that the isozymes of SOD, CAT and POX present in faba bean cells growing in the presence of 0–15 Gy γ-irradiation are required to remove the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during normal, physiological processes. When the dose of γ-irradiation is ≥20 Gy, the level of ROS (produced indirectly by γ-irradiation) becomes too high to be dealt with by the existing antioxidant isozymes. The present research shows for the first time that the switch between the physiological oxidative response and a stress-related one occurs within a very narrow range of stress factor intensities, i.e. γ-irradiation doses. In the present study, this change took place between 15 and 20 Gy. Further investigations, using molecular biology techniques will be needed to determine the mechanisms involved in enzyme induction under ionizing conditions in order to evaluate changes in the gametic genomes at two possible levels: (i) the structural level, for studying mutations occurring in the DNA, and (ii) the functional level, by studying differential genetic expression between irradiated and non-irradiated plants.

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