Programmed cell death and tissue remodelling in plants

Gunawardena, Arunika H. L. A. N.
February 2008
Journal of Experimental Botany;Feb2008, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p445
Academic Journal
The use of programmed cell death (PCD) to remodel plants at the cellular, tissue, and organ levels is particularly fascinating and occurs in such processes as tracheary element differentiation, lysigenous aerenchyma formation, development of functionally unisexual flowers from bisexual floral primordia, and leaf morphogenesis. The formation of complex leaf shape through the use of PCD is a rare event across vascular plants and occurs only in a few species of Monstera and related genera, and in the lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis). During early development, the lace plant leaf forms a pattern of equidistantly positioned perforations across the surface of the leaf, giving it a lattice-like appearance. Due to the accessibility and predictability of this process, the lace plant provides highly suitable material for the study of developmentally regulated PCD in plants. A sterile lace plant culture system has been successfully established, providing material free of micro-organisms for experimental study. The potential role of ethylene and caspase-like activity in developmentally regulated PCD in the lace plant is currently under investigation, with preliminary results indicating that both may play a role in the cell death pathway.


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