Journal Article

Is internucleosomal DNA fragmentation an indicator of programmed death in plant cells?

Andrea Kuthanova, Zdenek Opatrny and Lukas Fischer

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 8, pages 2233-2240
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:

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Specific DNA fragmentation into oligonucleosomal units occurs during programmed cell death (PCD) in both animal and plant cells, usually being regarded as an indicator of its apoptotic character. This internucleosomal DNA fragmentation is demonstrated in tobacco suspension and leaf cells, which were killed immediately by freezing in liquid nitrogen, and homogenization or treatment with Triton X-100. Although these cells could not activate and realize the respective enzymatic processes in a programmed manner, the character of DNA fragmentation was similar to that in the cells undergoing typical gradual PCD induced by 50 μM CdSO4. This internucleosomal DNA fragmentation was connected with the action of cysteine proteases and the loss of membrane, in particular tonoplast, integrity. The mechanisms of DNase activation in the rapidly killed cells, hypothetical biological relevance, and implications for the classification of cell death are discussed.

Keywords: Non-PCD internucleosomal DNA fragmentation; programmed cell death; protease inhibitor; tobacco BY-2 cell line; vacuolar integrity

Journal Article.  3918 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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