Postprint version. Published in Trends in Plant Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, July 1, 2000, pages 278-282. Copyright © 2000 Elsevier. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1360-1385(00)01655-1.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Edward Himelblau was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Senescence is the last stage of leaf development and one type of programmed cell death that occurs in plants. The relationships among senescence programs that are induced by a variety of factors have been addressed at a molecular level in recent studies. Furthermore, an overlap between the pathogen-response and senescence programs is beginning to be characterized. The complexity of the senescence program is also evident in studies of senescence-specific gene regulation and the role of photosynthesis and plant hormones in senescence regulation. New molecular-genetic approaches are expected to be useful in unraveling the molecular mechanisms of the leaf senescence program.