Death of mitochondria during programmed cell death of leaf mesophyll cells


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The role of plant mitochondria in the programmed cell death (PCD) is widely discussed. However, spectrum and sequence of mitochondrial structural changes during different types of PCD in leaves are poorly described. Pea, cucumber and rye plants were grown under controlled growing conditions. A part of them were sprinkled with ethylene releaser to accelerate cell death. During yellowing the palisade parenchyma mitochondria were attracted to nuclear envelope. Mitochondrial matrix became electron translucent. Mitochondria entered vacuole by invagination of tonoplast and formed multivesicular bodies. Ethephon treatment increased the frequency of sticking of mitochondria to the nuclear envelope or chloroplasts and peroxisomes. Mitochondria divided by different mechanisms and became enclosed in Golgi and ER derived authopagic vacuoles or in the central vacuole. Several fold increase of the diameter of cristae became typical. In all cases mitochondria were attached to nuclear envelope. It can be considered as structural mechanism of promoting of PCD.