The exposure of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can cause wheat leaf chlorosis. Thus, we hypothesize that chloroplast inner structure damage is the reason for leaf chlorosis. This study was conducted with the wheat seedlings exposed to Hoagland nutrient solution containing 1.0 mg L−1 phenanthrene for 9 days. Subcellular observation showed that chloroplast turns round and loses its structural integrity. Herein, iTRAQ (isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification) was applied to analyze the changes of protein profile in chloroplast exposed to phenanthrene. A total of 517 proteins are identified, 261 of which are up-regulated. Eight proteins related with thylakoid (the structural component of chloroplast) are down-regulated and the expression of related genes further confirms the proteomic results through real-time PCR under phenanthrene treatment, suggesting that the thylakoid destruction is the reason for chloroplast deformation. Four proteins related with envelope and stroma are up-regulated, and this is the reason why chloroplast remains round. This study is useful in discussing the carcinogenic and teratogenic effects of PAHs in plant cells in the environment, and provides necessary knowledge for improving crop resistance to PAH pollution.
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