Programmed cell death in plants: new insights into redox regulation and the role of hydrogen peroxide.
Apoptotic cell response in oats is induced by victorin, a host-selective toxin secreted by Cochliobolus victoriae and thought to exert toxicity by inhibiting mitochondrial glycine decarboxylase (GDC) in Pc-2/Vb oats. We examined the role of mitochondria, especially the organelle-derived production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), in the induction of apoptotic cell death. Cytofluorimetric analysis showed that victorin caused mitochondrial deltaPsim breakdown and mitochondrial oxidative burst. Ultrastructural analysis using a cytochemical assay based on the reaction of H2O2 with CeCl3 detected H2O2 eruption at permeability transition pore-like sites on the mitochondrial membrane in oat cells treated with victorin. ROS generation preceded the apoptotic cell responses seen in chromatin condensation and DNA laddering. Both aminoacetonitrile (a specific GDC inhibitor) and antimycin A (a mitochondrial complex III inhibitor) also induced mitochondrial H2O2 eruption, and led to the apoptotic response in oat cells. ROS scavengers such as N-acetyl-l-cysteine and catalase suppressed the mitochondrial oxidative burst and delayed chromatin condensation and DNA laddering in the victorin- or antimycin A-treated leaves. These findings indicate possible involvement of mitochondria, especially mitochondrial-derived ROS generation, as an important regulator in controlling apoptotic cell death in oats.