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Chitosan Induces Ca2+-mediated Programmed Cell Death In Soybean Cells

Anna Zuppini, B. Baldan, R. Millioni, F. Favaron, L. Navazio, P. Mariani
Published 2004 · Biology

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Summary • Chitosan, a component of the cell wall of many fungi, has been widely used to mimic pathogen attack and has been shown to induce several defence responses. • Here we show that low concentrations (50 µg ml − 1 ) of chitosan are able to induce an increase in cytosolic Ca 2+ concentration ([Ca 2+ ] cyt ), accumulation of H 2 O 2 in the culture medium, induction of the defence gene chalcone synthase ( chs ), and cell death in soybean cells ( Glycine max ). • Chitosan-induced cell death occurred through cytoplasmic shrinkage, chromatin condensation and activation of caspase 3-like protease, suggesting the activation of a programmed cell death (PCD) pathway. Buffering extracellular Ca 2+ with the Ca 2+ chelator EGTA prevents [Ca 2+ ] cyt elevation, H 2 O 2 production and all downstream PCD features, but not cell death. • Higher doses (200 µg ml − 1 ) of chitosan evoked neither Ca 2+ transient and H 2 O 2 production nor caspase 3-like activation, but caused cell death, possibly as a result of plasma membrane disturbance.
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