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.



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