Rosmarinic acid inhibits programmed cell death in Solanum tuberosum L. calli under high salinity

Hoda Eskandari, Aliakbar Ehsanpour, Naemah Al-Mansour, Hassan Bardania, Duncan S Sutherland, Hossein Mohammad-Beigi

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Oxidative stress induced by salinity is a prime cause of cell death when Na + toxicity becomes unbearable. We explored the effect of rosmarinic acid (RA) on the Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Desiree calli against salt-induced programmed cell death (PCD). We showed that PCD events were triggered in calli under 250 mM NaCl by the loss of plasma membrane integrity as measured by the amount of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the cytoplasm, the degree of DNA degradation resulting from the cleavage of nuclear DNA into oligonucleosomal fragments in apoptotic cells, the presence of TUNEL-positive nuclei (90 ± 0.005%) damage in genomic DNA, and activation of caspase 3-like protease. Callus Formation Medium (CFM) supplemented with RA led to the suppression of salt-induced cell death and a dramatic decrease in the MDA level and frequency of TUNEL-positive nuclei under salinity to 4 ± and 7.3 ± % in the presence of 50 and 350 μM RA, respectively. The application of RA also resulted in an increase in GSH content and maintenance of a high GSH/GSSG ratio. Interestingly, these reductions in PCD were accompanied by inhibiting caspase 3-like protease activities due to RA under salinity. Molecular docking predicted high binding energies of RA for binding to subtilisin-like protease (StSCTc-3), which has caspase-3 like activity in Solanum tuberosum, near the active site. This finding supports the notion of a role for RA in PCD protection in plants, which is consistent with earlier reports in animal cells.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemestry
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Caspase-3 like proteases
  • DNA laddering
  • Salt stress
  • TUNEL test


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