Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cell Death Differ. 1997 Dec;4(8):689-98.

Mycotoxins reveal connections between plants and animals in apoptosis and ceramide signaling.

Author information

  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, NSF Center for Engineering Plants for Resistance Against Pathogens, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Plants undergo programmed cell death during development and disease in contexts that are functionally analogous to apoptosis in animals. Recent studies involving plant cell death induced by mycotoxins, pathogens and lethal mutations along with the cell-autonomous death during development now point to several conserved connections to apoptosis in animals. Morphological markers indicative of apoptosis recently reported in plants include TUNEL positive cells, DNA ladders, Ca2+-activated nucleosomal DNA cleavage, and formation of apoptotic-like bodies that occur in some but not all situations involving ordered cell death. In parallel studies with animal and plant cells treated with sphinganine analog mycotoxins our results indicate that the induction and inhibition of death may be mediated by ceramide-linked signaling systems. The presence and significance of ceramide-linked second messenger systems is well documented in animals but is virtually unknown in plants. Further research will discern the manner in which the important function of programmed cell death is conserved as well as diverged between the two kingdoms.

Comment in

Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk