Ethylene and programmed cell death in plants

Trobacher, Christopher P.
August 2009
Botany;Aug2009, Vol. 87 Issue 8, p757
Academic Journal
Plants produce and utilize the gaseous hydrocarbon ethylene as a phytohormone throughout their life cycle. Ethylene is notoriously associated with fruit ripening and this aspect of its biology, along with its biosynthesis and mechanisms of signal transduction, has received a great deal of study. Many plants also employ ethylene signalling during instances of programmed cell death (PCD), including aerenchyma formation, epidermal PCD above emerging adventitious roots, senescence of petals, leaves, and reproductive structures, and endosperm death in developing cereal seeds. Ethylene-signalling during PCD is both spatially and temporally regulated, and is selective in that it induces PCD only in sensitized cells or tissues. This review examines instances of ethylene-regulated plant PCD, proposes a general model, and suggests avenues for future research that might improve our understanding of both PCD and ethylene signal transduction.


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