The hypersensitive response (HR) involves programmed cell death (PCD) in response to pathogen infection. To investigate the pathogen resistance signaling pathway, we previously identified the Arabidopsis mutant cpr22, which displays constitutive activation of multiple defense responses including HR like cell death. The cpr22 mutation has been identified as a 3 kb deletion that fuses two cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel (CNGC)-encoding genes, ATCNGC11 and ATCNGC12, to generate a novel chimeric gene, ATCNGC11/12. In this study, we conducted a characterization of cell death induced by transient expression of ATCNGC11/12 in Nicotiana benthamiana. Electron microscopic analysis of this cell death showed similar characteristics to PCD, such as plasma membrane shrinkage and vesicle formation. The hallmark of animal PCD, fragmentation of nuclear DNA, was also observed in ATCNGC11/12-induced cell death. The development of cell death was significantly suppressed by caspase-1 inhibitors, suggesting the involvement of caspases in this process. Recently, vacuolar processing enzyme (VPE) was isolated as the first plant caspase-like protein, which is involved in HR development. In VPE-silenced plants development of cell death induced by ATCNGC11/12 was much slower and weaker compared to control plants, suggesting the involvement of VPE as a caspase in ATCNGC11/12-induced cell death. Complementation analysis using a Ca2+ uptake deficient yeast mutant demonstrated that the ATCNGC11/12 channel is permeable to Ca2+. Additionally, calcium channel blockers such as GdCl3 inhibited ATCNGC11/12-induced HR formation, whereas potassium channel blockers did not. Taken together, these results indicate that the cell death that develops in the cpr22 mutant is indeed PCD and that the chimeric channel, ATCNGC11/12, is at the point of, or up-stream of the calcium signal necessary for the development of HR.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 21, 2007
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