Application of the comet assay in studies of programmed cell death (PCD) in plants

Maria Charzyńska, Ewa Simeonova, Adam Sikora, Agnieszka Mostowska, Joanna Leśniewska


Programmed cell death (PCD) in plants is an intensively investigated process. One of the main characteristics of PCD in both animal and plant organisms is the non-random, internucleosomal fragmentation of nuclear DNA, usually analysed using total DNA gel electrophoresis or TUNEL method. In this paper we present application of the "comet assay" (Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis) for detection of nDNA degradation in studies of PCD during plant life cycle. We analyzed three types of tissue: anther tapetum, endosperm and mesophyll which were prepared in different ways to obtain a suspension of viable cells (without cell walls). The comet assay gives a possibility of examination of the nDNA degradation in individual cell. This method is significant for studies of the plant tissue differentiation and senescence especially in the cases when it is not possible to isolate large number of cells at the same developmental stage.


comet assay; programmed cell death (PCD) in plants; tapetum; endosperm; mesophyll; protoplasts

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