An extensive microarray analysis of AAL-toxin-induced cell death in Arabidopsis thaliana brings new insights into the complexity of programmed cell death in plants

T.S. Gechev, I.Z. Gadjev, J. Hille

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A T-DNA knockout of the Arabidopsis homologue of the tomato disease resistance gene Asc was obtained. The asc gene renders plants sensitive to programmed cell death (PCD) triggered by the fungal AAL toxin. To obtain more insights into the nature of AAL-toxin-induced cell death and to identify genes of potential importance for PCD, we carried out transcription profiling of AAL-toxin-induced cell death in this knockout with an oligonucleotide array representing 21,500 Arabidopsis genes. Genes responsive to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ethylene were among the earliest to be upregulated, suggesting that an oxidative burst and production of ethylene played a role in the activation of the cell death. This notion was corroborated by induction of several genes encoding ROS-generating proteins, including a respiratory burst oxidase and germin oxalate oxidase. Cytochemical studies confirmed the oxidative burst and, in addition, showed synthesis of callose, a feature of the hypersensitive response. A diverse group of transcription factors was also induced. These events were followed by repression of most of the auxin-regulated genes known to be involved in growth and developmental responses. All photosynthesis-related genes were repressed. Blocking the synthesis of ethylene or NO significantly compromised cell death. In addition, we identified a heterogeneous group of early-induced genes, some of them never before associated with PCD. The group of early-induced genes included a number of proteases that were previously implicated in developmentally regulated types of PCD, suggesting a more principal role for these proteases in the PCD process. These findings provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms of plant PCD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185 - 1197
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and molecular life sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • transcriptome analysis
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • PCD
  • AAL toxin

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