, Volume 250, Issue 1, pp 273–284 | Cite as

Ethylene signaling in salt stress- and salicylic acid-induced programmed cell death in tomato suspension cells

  • Péter Poór
  • Judit Kovács
  • Dóra Szopkó
  • Irma TariEmail author
Original Article


Salt stress- and salicylic acid (SA)-induced cell death can be activated by various signaling pathways including ethylene (ET) signaling in intact tomato plants. In tomato suspension cultures, a treatment with 250 mM NaCl increased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and ET. The 10−3 M SA-induced cell death was also accompanied by ROS and NO production, but ET emanation, the most characteristic difference between the two cell death programs, did not change. ET synthesis was enhanced by addition of ET precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, which, after 2 h, increased the ROS production in the case of both stressors and accelerated cell death under salt stress. However, it did not change the viability and NO levels in SA-treated samples. The effect of ET induced by salt stress could be blocked with silver thiosulfate (STS), an inhibitor of ET action. STS reduced the death of cells which is in accordance with the decrease in ROS production of cells exposed to high salinity. Unexpectedly, application of STS together with SA resulted in increasing ROS and reduced NO accumulation which led to a faster cell death. NaCl- and SA-induced cell death was blocked by Ca2+ chelator EGTA and calmodulin inhibitor W-7, or with the inhibitors of ROS. The inhibitor of MAPKs, PD98059, and the cysteine protease inhibitor E-64 reduced cell death in both cases. These results show that NaCl induces cell death mainly by ET-induced ROS production, but ROS generated by SA was not controlled by ET in tomato cell suspension.


Ethylene Programmed cell death Reactive oxygen species Salicylic acid Salt stress Tomato suspension culture 



1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid


Aminoethoxyvinyl glycine






4,5 Diaminofluorescein-diacetate


Diphenyleneiodonium chloride


N-(trans-epoxysuccinyl)-l-leucine 4-guanidinobutylamide


Ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid


Relative electrolyte leakage




Fluorescein diacetate


2′,7′-Dichlorofluorescein diacetate


Hypersensitive response


Depolarization-active outward-rectifying K+ channels


Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Nitric oxide


Never ripe tomato (ethylene receptor) mutant


Non-selective cation channels


Phosphate-buffered saline


Programmed cell death




Plasma membrane


Reactive oxygen species


Salicylic acid


Sodium nitroprusside


Superoxide dismutase


Silver thiosulphate


Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling


N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalenesulfonamide hydrochloride



We thank Kispálné Szabó Ibolya for her excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by grants from the Hungarian National Scientific Research Foundation (OTKA K76854 and OTKA K 101243).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Péter Poór
    • 1
  • Judit Kovács
    • 1
  • Dóra Szopkó
    • 1
  • Irma Tari
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary

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