Programmed cell death induced by high levels of cytokinin in Arabidopsis cultured cells is mediated by the cytokinin receptor CRE1/AHK4.

Dipartimento di Biologia, Università Degli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy.
Journal of Experimental Botany (Impact Factor: 5.79). 02/2012; 63(7):2825-32. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ers008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT High levels of cytokinins (CKs) induce programmed cell death (PCD) both in animals and plant cells. High levels of the CK benzylaminopurine (BA) induce PCD in cultured cells of Arabidopsis thaliana by accelerating a senescence process characterized by DNA laddering and expression of a specific senescence marker. In this report, the question has been addressed whether members of the small family of Arabidopsis CK receptors (AHK2, AHK3, CRE1/AHK4) are required for BA-induced PCD. In this respect, suspension cell cultures were produced from selected receptor mutants. Cell growth and proliferation of all receptor mutant and wild-type cell cultures were similar, showing that the CK receptors are not required for these processes in cultured cells. The analysis of CK metabolites instead revealed differences between wild-type and receptor mutant lines, and indicated that all three receptors are redundantly involved in the regulation of the steady-state levels of isopentenyladenine- and trans-zeatin-type CKs. By contrast, the levels of cis-zeatin-type CKs were controlled mainly by AHK2 and AHK3. To study the role of CK receptors in the BA-induced PCD pathway, cultured cells were analysed for their behaviour in the presence of high levels of BA. The results show that CRE1/AHK4, the strongest expressed CK receptor gene of this family in cultured cells, is required for PCD, thus linking this process to the known CK signalling pathway.

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