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Plant Cell. 1993 May;5(5):553-64.

Developmental and age-related processes that influence the longevity and senescence of photosynthetic tissues in arabidopsis.

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Botany Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Factors that influence the longevity and senescence of photosynthetic tissues of Arabidopsis were investigated. To determine the influence of reproductive development on the timing of somatic tissue senescence, the longevity of rosette leaves of the Landsberg erecta strain and of isogenic mutant lines in which flowering is delayed (co-2) or sterile flowers are produced (ms1-1) were compared. No difference in the timing of senescence of individual leaves was observed between these lines, indicating that somatic tissue longevity is not governed by reproductive development in this species. To examine the role of differential gene expression in the process of leaf senescence, cDNA clones representing genes that are differentially expressed in senescing tissues were isolated. Sequence analysis of one such clone indicated homology to previously cloned cysteine proteinases, which is consistent with a role for the product of this gene in nitrogen salvage. RNA gel blot analysis revealed that increased expression of senescence-associated genes is preceded by declines in photosynthesis and in the expression of photosynthesis-associated genes. A model is presented in which it is postulated that leaf senescence is triggered by age-related declines in photosynthetic processes.

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