Durham University

Department of Biosciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Prof Keith Lindsey

Lima, N.B., Trindade, F., da Cunha, M., Oliviera, A.E.A., Lindsey, K., Topping, J. & Fernandes, K.V.S. (2015). Programmed cell death during development of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. (Walp.) seed coat. Plant Cell and Environment 38(4): 718-728.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The seed coat develops primarily from maternal tissues and comprises multiple cell layers at maturity, providing a metabolically dynamic interface between the developing embryo and the environment during embryogenesis, dormancy and germination of seeds. Seed coat development involves dramatic cellular changes, and the aim of this research was to investigate the role of programmed cell death (PCD) events during the development of seed coats of cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.]. We demonstrate that cells of the developing cowpea seed coats undergo a programme of autolytic cell death, detected as cellular morphological changes in nuclei, mitochondria, chloroplasts and vacuoles, DNA fragmentation and oligonucleosome accumulation in the cytoplasm, and loss of membrane viability. We show for the first time that classes 6 and 8 caspase-like enzymes are active during seed coat development, and that these activities may be compartmentalized by translocation between vacuoles and cytoplasm during PCD events.