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Keywords:

  • apoptotic-like body;
  • cell shrinkage;
  • DNA laddering;
  • programmed cell death;
  • tobacco BY-2 cell

Evans Blue staining indicated that actively growing tobacco BY-2 cells in the exponential phase died more rapidly than quiescent cells in the stationary phase when the cells cultured under agitation were placed under still conditions. Fifty percent cell death was induced at about 18, 26, 80 and 140 h for early, mid, late exponential- and stationary-phase cells, respectively. Actively growing cells became TUNEL (transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling)-positive more rapidly than quiescent cells, suggesting that the cell death evaluated by Evans Blue is accompanied by DNA cleavages. Electrophoresis of genomic DNA showed a typical ‘DNA laddering' pattern formed by multiples of about 200 bp internucleosomal units. Chromatin condensation was first detected at least within 24 h by light microscopy, and then cell shrinkage followed. These findings suggest that the death of BY-2 cells induced by still conditions is PCD (programmed cell death).