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Licensed to Kill : Mitochondria, Chloroplasts, and Cell Death

  • Olivier Van Aken
  • Frank Van Breusegem
Publishing year: 2015-11
Language: English
Pages: 66-754
Publication/Series: Trends in Plant Science
Volume: 20
Issue: 11
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Programmed cell death (PCD) is crucial in plant organogenesis and survival. In this review the involvement of mitochondria and chloroplasts in PCD execution is critically assessed. Recent findings support a central role for mitochondria in PCD, with newly identified components of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC), FOF1 ATP synthase, cardiolipins, and ATPase AtOM66. While chloroplasts received less attention, their contribution to PCD is well supported, suggesting that they possibly contribute by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the presence of light or even contribute through cytochrome f release. Finally we discuss two working models where mitochondria and chloroplasts could cooperatively execute PCD: mitochondria initiate the commitment steps and recruit chloroplasts for swift execution or, alternatively, mitochondria and chloroplasts could operate in parallel.


  • Botany
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Apoptosis
  • Chloroplasts
  • Mitochondria
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Review


  • ISSN: 1360-1385
Olivier van Aken
E-mail: olivier [dot] van_aken [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 94 13



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Cuong Tran