Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell Death Occurs In Same Way In Plants And Animals

Date:
October 21, 2009
Source:
Swedish Research Council
Summary:
Research has previously assumed that animals and plants developed different genetic programs for cell death. Now scientists have shown that parts of the genetic programs that determine programmed cell death in plants and animals are actually evolutionarily related and moreover function in a similar way.

In both plant and animal cells that undergo programmed cell death, the protein TUDOR-SN is broken down. In pollen, from the model plant mouse-ear cress, a reduction in TUDOR-SN leads to fragmentation of DNA (red signal) and premature cell death.
Credit: Photo by Andrei P. Smertenko

Research has previously assumed that animals and plants developed different genetic programs for cell death. Now an international collaboration of research teams, including one at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, has shown that parts of the genetic programs that determine programmed cell death in plants and animals are actually evolutionarily related and moreover function in a similar way.

The findings were published in Nature Cell Biology October 11.

For plants and animals, and for humans as well, it is important that cells both can develop and die under controlled forms. The process where cells die under such forms is called programmed cell death. Disruptions of this process can lead to various diseases such as cancer, when too few cells die, or neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, when too many cell die.

The findings are published jointly by research teams at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and the Karolinska Institute, the universities of Durham (UK), Tampere (Finland), and Malaga (Spain) under the direction of Peter Bozhkov, who works at SLU in Uppsala, Sweden. The scientists have performed comparative studies of an evolutionarily conserved protein called TUDOR-SN in cell lines from mice and humans and in the plants norway spruce and mouse-ear cress. In both plant and animal cells that undergo programmed cell death, TUDOR-SN is degraded by specific proteins, so-called proteases.

The proteases in animal cells belong to a family of proteins called caspases, which are enzymes. Plants do not have caspases – instead TUDOR-SN is broken down by so-called meta-caspases, which are assumed to be ancestral to the caspases found in animal cells. For the first time, these scientists have been able to demonstrate that a protein, TUDOR-SN, is degraded by similar proteases in both plant and animal cells and that the cleavage of TUDOR-SN abrogate its pro-survival function. The scientists have thereby discovered a further connection between the plant and animal kingdoms. The results now in print will therefore play a major role in future studies of this important protein family.

Cells that lack TUDOR-SN often experience premature programmed cell death. Furthermore, functional studies at the organism level in the model plant mouse-ear cress show that TUDOR-SN is necessary for the development of embryos and pollen. The researchers interpret the results to mean that TUDOR-SN is important in preventing programmed cell death from being activated in cells that are to remain alive.

The research teams maintain that the findings indicate that programmed cell death was established early on in evolution, even before the line that led to the earth's multicellular organisms divided into plants and animals. The work also shows the importance of comparative studies across different species to enhance our understanding of how fundamental mechanisms function at the cellular level in both the plant and animal kingdoms, and by extension in humans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Swedish Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jens F. Sundström, Alena Vaculova, Andrei P. Smertenko, Eugene I. Savenkov, Anna Golovko, Elena Minina, Budhi S. Tiwari, Salvador Rodriguez-Nieto, Andrey A. Zamyatnin, Jr, Tuuli Välineva, Juha Saarikettu, Mikko J. Frilander, Maria F. Suarez, Anton Zavialov, Ulf Ståhl, Patrick J. Hussey, Olli Silvennoinen, Eva Sundberg, Boris Zhivotovsky & Peter V. Bozhkov. Tudor staphylococcal nuclease is an evolutionarily conserved component of the programmed cell death degradome. Nature Cell Biology, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/ncb1979

Cite This Page:

Swedish Research Council. "Cell Death Occurs In Same Way In Plants And Animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013105335.htm>.
Swedish Research Council. (2009, October 21). Cell Death Occurs In Same Way In Plants And Animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013105335.htm
Swedish Research Council. "Cell Death Occurs In Same Way In Plants And Animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091013105335.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins