Programmed cell death during vascular system formation

Cell Death Differ. 1997 Dec;4(8):684-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4400310.


Vascular plants have vessels and tracheids composed of dead tracheary elements. Differentiation of procambial or cambial cells to tracheary elements is a typical example of programmed cell death in higher plants. Recent studies on tracheary element differentiation, in particular with an in vitro differentiation system, have revealed a unique cell death process which differs from apoptosis. Herein I summarize the present knowledge about the induction of cell death, the morphological features of cell death, and the mechanism of autolysis, including the involvement of a DNase and cysteine proteases, during tracheary element differentiation.