Programmed cell death (PCD) is the genetically regulated disassembly of cells, and occurs in the endosperm of cereals during seed maturation. Since PCD determines the lifetime of cells, it can affect endosperm growth and, therefore, cereal yield. However, the features and mechanisms of PCD in the developing starchy endosperm in the Poaceae remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated the characteristics of PCD in developing starchy endosperm of rice (Oryza sativa L.) by fluorescence microscopy, focusing on the spatial and temporal progress of PCD-associated responses. Cell death commenced in the central region of starchy endosperm, and then spread to the peripheral region. PCD-associated responses, such as mitochondrial membrane permeabilization and activation of the protease that cleaves the amino acid sequence VEID, showed similar spatial patterns to that of cell death, but preceded cell death. Degradation of nuclear DNA could not be detected in developing starchy endosperm by the TUNEL assay. These results indicated that PCD in developing starchy endosperm of rice proceeds via a highly organized pattern. In addition, these results suggested that PCD in developing starchy endosperm of rice is characterized by the involvement of mitochondrial signaling and the activity of a caspase-like protease that cleaves the VEID sequence.
Planta – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 13, 2013
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