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Genome Biology

, 2:spotlight-20010604-01 | Cite as

Apoptosis and disease in plants

  • Jonathan B Weitzman
Research news
  • 428 Downloads

Keywords

Transgenic Plant Tobacco Plant Induce Cell Death Plant Infection Hypersensitive Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The hypersensitive response (HR) of plants to pathogenic infection involves a form of programmed cell death, but the molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In the June 5 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dickman et al. describe the use of transgenic plants expressing known anti-apoptotic genes from animals to explore the role of apoptosis in host defence (Proc Natl Acad SciUSA 2001, 98:6957-6962). They generated tobacco plants expressing human bcl-2, human bcl-xl, nematode ced-9 or baculovirus op-iap. All of the transgenes conferred resistance to fungal phytopathogens and to tomato spotted wilt virus. The anti-apoptotic transgenes also inhibited DNA laddering (a marker of apoptosis) following tobacco plant infection with necrotrophic fungi. This 'comparative pathobiology' approach demonstrates that plant-pathogen interactions induce cell death that resembles animal apoptosis. These transgenic plants will be important to studies of the mechanisms of plant cell death and to the development of disease-resistant crops.

References

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    Hypersensitive response-related death.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [http://www.pnas.org/]
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    Bcl-2 family proteins.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    bcl-x, a bcl-2-related gene that functions as a dominant regulator of apoptotic cell death.Google Scholar
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    Caenorhabditis elegans gene ced-9 protects cells from programmed cell death.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    An apoptosis-inhibiting baculovirus gene with a zinc finger-like motif.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© BioMed Central Ltd 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan B Weitzman

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