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J Exp Bot. 2000 Jun;51(347):1027-36.

A nitric oxide burst precedes apoptosis in angiosperm and gymnosperm callus cells and foliar tissues.

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Centro de Biotecnologia Vegetal, Departamento Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências de Lisboa, Bloco C2, Piso 1, Campo Grande, P-1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.


Leaves and callus of Kalanchoë daigremontiana and Taxus brevifolia were used to investigate nitric oxide-induced apoptosis in plant cells. The effect of nitric oxide (NO) was studied by using a NO donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a nitric oxide-synthase (NOS) inhibitor, N:(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (NMMA), and centrifugation (an apoptosis-inducing treatment in these species). NO production was visualized in cells and tissues with a specific probe, diaminofluorescein diacetate (DAF-2 DA). DNA fragmentation was detected in situ by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) method. In both species, NO was detected diffused in the cytosol of epidermal cells and in chloroplasts of guard cells and leaf parenchyma cells. Centrifugation increased NO production, DNA fragmentation and subsequent cell death by apoptosis. SNP mimicked centrifugation results. NMMA significantly decreased NO production and apoptosis in both species. The inhibitory effect of NMMA on NO production suggests that a putative NOS is present in Kalanchoë and Taxus cells. The present results demonstrated the involvement of NO on DNA damage leading to cell death, and point to a potential role of NO as a signal molecule in these plants.

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