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Cell death patterns in Arabidopsis cells subjected to four physiological stressors indicate multiple signalling pathways and cell cycle phase specificity

Pathirana, Ranjith, West, Phillip, Hedderley, Duncan, Eason, Jocelyn
Protoplasma 2017 v.254 no.2 pp. 635-647
Arabidopsis thaliana, DNA fragmentation, apoptosis, cell suspension culture, cell walls, cultured cells, cysteine, cysteine proteinases, ethylene, genes, glycolysis, hydrogen peroxide, interphase, mannose, nuclear genome, oxidative stress, permeability, polyethylene glycol, signal transduction
Corpse morphology, nuclear DNA fragmentation, expression of senescence-associated genes (SAG) and cysteine protease profiles were investigated to understand cell death patterns in a cell cycle-synchronised Arabidopsis thaliana cell suspension culture treated with four physiological stressors in the late G2 phase. Within 4 h of treatment, polyethylene glycol (PEG, 20 %), mannose (100 mM) and hydrogen peroxide (2 mM) caused DNA fragmentation coinciding with cell permeability to Evans Blue (EB) and produced corpse morphology corresponding to apoptosis-like programmed cell death (AL-PCD) with cytoplasmic retraction from the cell wall. Ethylene (8 mL per 250-mL flask) caused permeability of cells to EB without concomitant nuclear DNA fragmentation and cytoplasmic retraction, suggesting necrotic cell death. Mannose inducing glycolysis block and PEG causing dehydration resulted in relatively similar patterns of upregulation of SAG suggesting similar cell death signalling pathways for these two stress factors, whereas hydrogen peroxide caused unique patterns indicating an alternate pathway for cell death induced by oxidative stress. Ethylene did not cause appreciable changes in SAG expression, confirming necrotic cell death. Expression of AtDAD, BoMT1 and AtSAG2 genes, previously shown to be associated with plant senescence, also changed rapidly during AL-PCD in cultured cells. The profiles of nine distinct cysteine protease-active bands ranging in size from ca. 21.5 to 38.5 kDa found in the control cultures were also altered after treatment with the four stressors, with mannose and PEG again producing similar patterns. Results also suggest that cysteine proteases may have a role in necrotic cell death.