Growth and senescence of Medicago truncatula cultured cells are associated with characteristic mitochondrial morphology

New Phytol. 2006;172(2):239-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01830.x.


Here mitochondrial morphology and dynamics were investigated in Medicago truncatula cell-suspension cultures during growth and senescence. Cell biology techniques were used to measure cell growth and death in culture. Mitochondrial morphology was investigated in vivo using a membrane potential sensor probe coupled with confocal microscopy. Expression of a senescence-associated gene (MtSAG) was evaluated in different cell-growth phases. Mitochondria appeared as numerous, punctuate organelles in cells at the beginning of the subculture cycle, while interconnected networks were observed in actively growing cells. In senescent cells, giant mitochondria were associated with dying cells. The release of cytochrome c from mitochondria was detected in different growth phases of cultured cells. Studies on plant cell cultures allowed us to identify physiological and molecular markers of senescence and cell death, and to associate distinct mitochondrial morphology with cells under different physiological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Benzyl Compounds
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Death* / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Cytokinins / pharmacology
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Kinetin / pharmacology
  • Medicago truncatula / cytology*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Purines


  • Benzyl Compounds
  • Cytokinins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Purines
  • Cytochromes c
  • benzylaminopurine
  • Kinetin