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Protoplasma. 2004 Jun;223(2-4):143-53. Epub 2004 Jun 22.

Monitoring the mitochondrial transmembrane potential with the JC-1 fluorochrome in programmed cell death during mesophyll leaf senescence.

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Department of Plant Anatomy and Cytology, Institute of Experimental Biology of Plants, Warsaw University, Miecznikowa 1, 02-096 Warsaw, Poland.


Analysis of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Delta Psi(m)) with the help of the JC-1 fluorochrome (5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolcarbocyanine iodide) during mesophyll leaf senescence was performed in order to determine whether a reduction of Delta Psi(m) takes place during mesophyll senescence and whether plant mitochondria, like mammalian ones, might be involved in the induction of programmed cell death. Fluorescence analysis of mesophyll protoplasts of Pisum sativum in a confocal microscope, fluorescent spectra analysis and time dependence of fluorescence intensity of monomers and of J-aggregates revealed that JC-1 is incorporated and accumulated specifically in plant mitochondria. Analysis of Delta Psi(m) during mesophyll protoplast senescence revealed that two subpopulations of mitochondria which differ in Delta Psi(m) exist in all analyzed stages of leaf senescence. The first subpopulation contains mitochondria with red fluorescence of J-aggregates due to an unperturbed high Delta Psi(m). The second subpopulation comprises mitochondria with green fluorescence of monomers due to a low Delta Psi(m), proving total depolarization of mitochondrial membranes. Fluorescence analysis demonstrated that even in the latest analyzed stages of leaf senescence, mitochondria with a high Delta Psi(m) still exist. Fluorometric measurements revealed that the fluorescence intensity of J-aggregates decreases with the age of plants, which indicates that a reduction of Delta Psi(m) during the mesophyll senescence process takes place; however, it does not take place within the whole population of mitochondria of the same protoplast. The reason of this can be due to a dramatic reorganization of mitochondria in mesophyll cells and the appearance of large mitochondria with local heterogeneity of Delta Psi(m) in the oldest analyzed stages. All mitochondria in every stage of senescence maintained their membrane organization even when their size, distribution, and spatial organization in protoplasts changed dramatically. We stated that the reduction of Delta Psi(m) does not directly induce programmed cell death in mesophyll cells, as opposed to animal apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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