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Bax-induced Cell Death In Tobacco Is Similar To The Hypersensitive Response.

C. Lacomme, S. Santa Cruz
Published 1999 · Medicine, Biology

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Bax, a death-promoting member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins, triggered cell death when expressed in plants from a tobacco mosaic virus vector. Analysis of Bax deletion mutants demonstrated a requirement for the BH1 and BH3 domains in promoting rapid cell death, whereas deletion of the carboxyl-terminal transmembrane domain completely abolished the lethality of Bax in plants. The phenotype of cell death induced by Bax closely resembled the hypersensitive response induced by wild-type tobacco mosaic virus in tobacco plants carrying the N gene. The cell death-promoting function of Bax in plants correlated with accumulation of the defense-related protein PR1, suggesting Bax activated an endogenous cell-death program in plants. In support of this view, both N gene- and Bax-mediated cell death was blocked by okadaic acid, an inhibitor of protein phosphatase activity. The ability of Bax to induce cell death and a defense reaction in plants suggests that some features of animal and plant cell death processes may be shared.
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