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Trends Plant Sci. 2005 Oct;10(10):478-83.

Plant programmed cell death and the point of no return.

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  • 1Wageningen University and Research Center, PO Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The point of no return during programmed cell death (PCD) is defined as the step beyond which the cell is irreversibly committed to die. Some plant cells can be saved before this point by inducing the formation of functional chloroplasts. A visibly senescent tissue will then become green again and live for months or years. The mechanism of this reversal is only partially known. The point of no return in fungi and animals is often associated with lack of mitochondrial function. In plant cells that do not regreen, there is no evidence for PCD reversal that results in a long life. It is unclear why chloroplast-containing cells, in contrast to those with only mitochondria, have long lives after PCD reversal.

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