Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Phytochelatin database: a resource for phytochelatin complexes of nutritional and environmental metals.

Authors: Dennis, Kristine K; Uppal, Karan; Liu, Ken H; Ma, Chunyu; Liang, Bill; Go, Young-Mi; Jones, Dean P

Published In Database (Oxford), (2019 01 01)

Abstract: Phytochelatins (PyCs) are a diverse set of plant compounds that chelate metals, protect against metal toxicity and function in metal homeostasis. PyCs are present in plants consumed as food by humans and could, in principle, impact absorption and utilization of essential and toxic metals such as selenium and cadmium, respectively. PyCs vary in terminal amino acid composition and chain length, exist in multiple oxidation states and reversibly bind multiple metals; consequently, PyCs include a large set of possible structures. Although individual PyC-metal complexes have been studied, no resource exists to characterize the diversity of PyCs and PyC-metal complexes. We used the scientific literature to develop a database of elemental formulas for polymer forms varying in chain length from 2 to 11 glutamyl-cysteine repeats. Using elemental formulas, we calculated monoisotopic masses using the most abundant isotopes of each element and calculated masses for complexes with 13 metals of nutritional and toxicological significance. The resulting phytochelatin database (PyCDB) contains 46 260 unique elemental formulas for PyC and PyC-metal complexes. The database is available online for download as well as for direct mass queries for mass spectrometry using an accurate mass annotation tool for user-selected PyC types, metals and adducts of interest. We performed studies of a commonly consumed food-onion-to validate the database and test utility of the tool. Onion samples were analyzed using ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Mass spectral features were annotated using the PyCDB web tool and the R package, xMSannotator; annotated features were further validated by collision-induced dissociation mass spectrometry. The results establish use and a workflow for PyCDB as a resource for characterization of PyCs and PyC-metal complexes.

PubMed ID: 31267134 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Databases, Protein*; Humans; Metals*/chemistry; Metals*/metabolism; Phytochelatins*/chemistry; Phytochelatins*/genetics; Phytochelatins*/metabolism; Plant Proteins*/chemistry; Plant Proteins*/genetics; Plant Proteins*/metabolism; Plants*/chemistry; Plants*/genetics; Plants*/metabolism

to Top