Editors' ChoiceCASPASES

Programming Cell Death in Plants

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Science's STKE  10 Aug 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 245, pp. tw287
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2452004tw287

Programmed cell death serves many useful functions--it helps in remodeling tissues during development and when organisms respond to environmental challenges. In virally infected plants, infected cells are killed by programmed cell death during the hypersensitive response. However, the signature caspases that promote programmed cell death found in animals have not been found in plants. Hatsugai et al. now identify VPE, a vacuolar processing enzyme, as a critical component of programmed cell death in tobacco plants. It seems that each plant cell, confined within its rigid cell wall, contains within its own vacuole the seeds of its own destruction.

N. Hatsugai, M. Kuroyanagi, K. Yamada, T. Meshi, S. Tsuda, M. Kondo, M. Nishimura, I. Hara-Nishimura, A plant vacuolar protease, VPE, mediates virus-induced hypersensitive cell death. Science 305, 855-858 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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