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Research article2010Peer reviewedOpen access

Chloroplast and reactive oxygen species involvement in apoptotic-like programmed cell death in Arabidopsis suspension cultures

Doyle, Siamsa M.; Diamond, Mark; McCabe, Paul F.


Chloroplasts produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) during cellular stress. ROS are known to act as regulators of programmed cell death (PCD) in plant and animal cells, so it is possible that chloroplasts have a role in regulating PCD in green tissue. Arabidopsis thaliana cell suspension cultures are model systems in which to test this, as here it is shown that their cells contain well-developed, functional chloroplasts when grown in the light, but not when grown in the dark. Heat treatment at 55 degrees C induced apoptotic-like (AL)-PCD in the cultures, but light-grown cultures responded with significantly less AL-PCD than dark-grown cultures. Chloroplast-free light-grown cultures were established using norflurazon, spectinomycin, and lincomycin and these cultures responded to heat treatment with increased AL-PCD, demonstrating that chloroplasts affect AL-PCD induction in light-grown cultures. Antioxidant treatment of light-grown cultures also resulted in increased AL-PCD induction, suggesting that chloroplast-produced ROS may be involved in AL-PCD regulation. Cycloheximide treatment of light-grown cultures prolonged cell viability and attenuated AL-PCD induction; however, this effect was less pronounced in dark-grown cultures, and did not occur in antioxidant-treated light-grown cultures. This suggests that a complex interplay between light, chloroplasts, ROS, and nuclear protein synthesis occurs during plant AL-PCD. The results of this study highlight the importance of taking into account the time-point at which cells are observed and whether the cells are light-grown and chloroplast-containing or not, for any study on plant AL-PCD, as it appears that chloroplasts can play a significant role in AL-PCD regulation.


Antioxidant; apoptosis; Arabidopsis thaliana; cell suspension culture; chloroplast; light; programmed cell death; reactive oxygen species

Published in

Journal of Experimental Botany
2010, Volume: 61, number: 2, pages: 473-482

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Cell Biology

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