Plant Programmed Cell Death (PCD): Using Cell Morphology as a Tool to Investigate Plant PCD

  • T. John Conway
  • Paul F. McCabeEmail author


Programmed cell death (PCD) is a form of cellular suicide that serves to eliminate damaged or unwanted cells. In plants PCD operates from embryogenesis to the death of the whole plant and is an integral component of both plant defence and development. Studying the regulatory mechanisms of PCD in vivo can be difficult as often cells undergoing PCD are buried beneath living tissue or it is only possible to observe the cells post mortem. For many of the hallmark characteristics there is only a finite window of opportunity to detect their presence and even then, the presence of these markers is only enough to give a qualitative and not a quantitative measure of PCD. To examine the subtle role environmental factors may have on altering PCD activation thresholds it is necessary to quantitatively assess rates and timing of PCD events.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biology and Environmental ScienceUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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