Senescence is the final stage of plant ontogeny before death. Senescence may occur naturally because of age or may be induced by various endogenous and exogenous factors. Despite its destructive character, senescence is a precisely controlled process that follows a well‐defined order. It is often inseparable from programmed cell death (PCD), and a correlation between these processes has been confirmed during the senescence of leaves and petals. Despite suggestions that senescence and PCD are two separate processes, with PCD occurring after senescence, cell death responsible for senescence is accompanied by numerous changes at the cytological, physiological and molecular levels, similar to other types of PCD. Independent of the plant organ analysed, these changes are focused on initiating the processes of cellular structural degradation via fluctuations in phytohormone levels and the activation of specific genes. Cellular structural degradation is genetically programmed and dependent on autophagy. Phytohormones/plant regulators are heavily involved in regulating the senescence of plant organs and can either promote [ethylene, abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA), and polyamines (PAs)] or inhibit [cytokinins (CKs)] this process. Auxins and carbohydrates have been assigned a dual role in the regulation of senescence, and can both inhibit and stimulate the senescence process. In this review, we introduce the basic pathways that regulate senescence in plants and identify mechanisms involved in controlling senescence in ephemeral plant organs. Moreover, we demonstrate a universal nature of this process in different plant organs; despite this process occurring in organs that have completely different functions, it is very similar. Progress in this area is providing opportunities to revisit how, when and which way senescence is coordinated or decoupled by plant regulators in different organs and will provide a powerful tool for plant physiology research.
Plant Biology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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