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Cell Calcium. 2010 Jan;47(1):92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2009.11.011. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Nuclear calcium controls the apoptotic-like cell death induced by d-erythro-sphinganine in tobacco cells.

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Université de Toulouse, UPS, UMR CNRS-UPS, Surfaces Cellulaires et Signalisation chez les Végétaux, Auzeville, Castanet-Tolosan, France.


Studies performed in animals have highlighted the major role of sphingolipids in regulating the balance between cell proliferation and cell death. Sphingolipids have also been shown to induce cell death in plants via calcium-based signalling pathways but the contribution of free cytosolic and/or nuclear calcium in the overall process has never been evaluated. Here, we show that increase in tobacco BY-2 cells of the endogenous content of Long Chain Bases (LCBs) caused by external application of d-erythro-sphinganine (DHS) is followed by immediate dose-dependent elevations of cellular free calcium concentration within the first minute in the cytosol and 10min later in the nucleus. Cells challenged with DHS enter a death process through apoptotic-like mechanisms. Lanthanum chloride, a general blocker of calcium entry, suppresses the cellular calcium variations and the PCD induced by DHS. Interestingly, dl-2-amino-5-phosphopentanoic acid (AP5) and [(+)-dizocilpine] (MK801), two inhibitors of animal and plant ionotropic glutamate receptors, suppress DHS-induced cell death symptoms by selectively inhibiting the variations of nuclear calcium concentration. The selective action of these compounds demonstrates the crucial role of nuclear calcium signature in controlling DHS-induced cell death in tobacco cells.

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