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Dying to live: programmed cell death in lace plant cells

     Author: Arunika Gunawardena


Perforation formation in the aquatic lace plant leaf is a unique and fascinating example of developmental programmed cell death (PCD). This unique plant is an excellent model for studying developmental PCD in vivo. Here we demonstrate some cellular changes that occur in lace plant leaf cells during the late stages of PCD using a 15 min time-lapse video (played at 50x speed). A rapid shrinkage of the nucleus and cessation of cytoplasmic streaming likely infers tonoplast rupture; the Brownian motion of condensed, white chloroplasts continues, but is soon followed by the collapse of the plasma membrane. Note the novel chloroplast ring formation around nuclei commonly observed in late stage lace plant PCD. Wright, H., van Doorn W., and Gunawardena, AHLAN (2009). In vivo study of developmental programmed cell death using the lace plant (Aponogeeton madagascariensis; Aponogetonaceae) leaf model system (Appendix S5 [online]), American Journal of Botany 96(5) 865-876.