Evidence for Agrobacterium-induced apoptosis in maize cells

Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2000 Jun;13(6):649-57. doi: 10.1094/MPMI.2000.13.6.649.


Agrobacterium spp. can genetically transform most dicotyledonous plant cells whereas many monocot species are recalcitrant to Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. One major obstacle is that co-cultivation of Agrobacterium spp. with plant tissues often results in cell death. Report here is that, in maize tissues, this process resembles apoptosis, with characteristic DNA cleavage into oligonucleosomal fragments and morphological changes. Two anti-apoptotic genes from baculovirus, p35 and iap, had the ability to prevent the onset of apoptosis triggered by Agrobacterium spp. in maize tissues. p35 is reported to act as a direct inhibitor of a certain class of proteases (caspase) whereas i.a.p. may act upstream to prevent their activation. This evidence raises the possibility that caspase-like proteases may also be involved in the apoptotic pathway in plant cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Lipoproteins / genetics
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rhizobium / genetics
  • Rhizobium / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins*
  • Zea mays / cytology
  • Zea mays / embryology
  • Zea mays / microbiology*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • iap protein, E coli
  • p35 protein, Baculovirus
  • Caspases