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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2006 Aug;9(4):391-6. Epub 2006 May 19.

Autophagy in the control of programmed cell death.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8103, USA.


Programmed cell death (PCD) is essential for plant development and immunity. Localized PCD is associated with the hypersensitive response (HR), which is a constituent of a successful plant innate immune response. Plants have developed mechanisms to meticulously prevent HR-PCD lesions from spreading. Our understanding of these mechanisms is still in its incipient stages. A recent study demonstrated that autophagy, a universally conserved process of macromolecule turnover, plays a pivotal role in controlling HR-PCD. The molecular identity of the mediators between the PCD and HR pathways is still obscure, but recent work has begun to shed light on the relationship between HR-PCD and autophagy and to suggest possible mechanisms for the regulation of these pathways.

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