• Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis;
  • Cadmium;
  • Mass spectrometry;
  • Stress responses;
  • Two-dimensional electrophoresis


The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis belongs to the strategies plants have developed to cope with adverse environmental conditions including contamination by heavy metals such as cadmium (Cd). In the present work, we report on the protective effect conferred by AM symbiosis to the model legume Medicago truncatula grown in presence of Cd, and on the 2-D-based proteomic approach further used to compare the proteomes of M. truncatula roots either colonised or not with the AM fungus Glomus intraradices in Cd-free and Cd-contaminated substrates. The results indicated that at the proteome level, 9 out of the 15 cadmium-induced changes in nonmycorrhizal roots were absent or inverse in those Cd-treated and colonized by G. intraradices, including the G. intraradices-dependent down-accumulation of Cd stress-responsive proteins. Out of the twenty-six mycorrhiza-related proteins that were identified, only six displayed changes in abundance upon Cd exposure, suggesting that part of the symbiotic program, which displays low sensitivity to Cd, may be recruited to counteract Cd toxicity through the mycorrhiza-dependent synthesis of proteins having functions putatively involved in alleviating oxidative damages, including a cyclophilin, a guanine nucleotide-binding protein, an ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase, a thiazole biosynthetic enzyme, an annexin, a glutathione S-transferase (GST)-like protein, and a S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) synthase.