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Cytochrome C Is Released In A Reactive Oxygen Species-Dependent Manner And Is Degraded Via Caspase-Like Proteases In Tobacco Bright-Yellow 2 Cells En Route To Heat Shock-Induced Cell Death1

R. A. Vacca, D. Valenti, A. Bobba, R. Merafina, S. Passarella, E. Marra
Published 2006 · Medicine, Biology

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To gain some insight into the mechanism of plant programmed cell death, certain features of cytochrome c (cyt c) release were investigated in heat-shocked tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Bright-Yellow 2 cells in the 2- to 6-h time range. We found that 2 h after heat shock, cyt c is released from intact mitochondria into the cytoplasm as a functionally active protein. Such a release did not occur in the presence of superoxide anion dismutase and catalase, thus showing that it depends on reactive oxygen species (ROS). Interestingly, ROS production due to xanthine plus xanthine oxidase results in cyt c release in sister control cultures. Maximal cyt c release was found 2 h after heat shock; later, activation of caspase-3-like protease was found to increase with time. Activation of this protease did not occur in the presence of ROS scavenger enzymes. The released cyt c was found to be progressively degraded in a manner prevented by either the broad-range caspase inhibitor (zVAD-fmk) or the specific inhibitor of caspase-3 (AC-DEVD-CHO), which have no effect on cyt c release. In the presence of these inhibitors, a significant increase in survival of the cells undergoing programmed cell death was found. We conclude that ROS can trigger release of cyt c, but do not cause cell death, which requires caspase-like activation.
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