The components and pathways that regulate and execute developmental cell death programmes in plants remain largely unknown. We have found that the PROMOTION OF CELL SURVIVAL 1 (PCS1) gene in Arabidopsis, which encodes an aspartic protease, has an important role in determining the fate of cells in embryonic development and in reproduction processes. The loss-of-function mutation of PCS1 causes degeneration of both male and female gametophytes and excessive cell death of developing embryos. Conversely, ectopic expression of PCS1 causes the septum and stomium cells that normally die in the anther wall to survive instead, leading to a failure in anther dehiscence and male sterility. PCS1 provides a new avenue for understanding the mechanisms of the programmed cell death processes that are associated with developmental pathways in plants and makes available a useful tool for engineering the male sterility trait for hybrid seed production.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Molecular Biology