In plants, boron (B) works to build the cell wall structure by forming borate ester cross-links with pectin, and the deficiency of this element brings about oxidative damage and cell death. However, the process via which B deficiency leads to such catastrophe has not been well understood. In this study, we investigated the temporal changes in transcript profiles of B-deprived cultured tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) BY-2 cells using cDNA microarray. The results suggest that the cells deprived of B up-regulated their antioxidative defense system to cope with the stress condition. However, the adaptive responses seemed to have declined within the first 12 h of deprivation. Tetrazolium reducing activity of B-deprived cells was lower than that of control cells at 12 h. These results together suggest that cellular function in B-deprived cells was seriously damaged as early as 12 h after deprivation. The rapidity of the onset of B deprivation-induced damages suggests the importance of the pectic network covalently cross-linked with B.
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