Nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are regulatory molecules in various developmental processes and stress responses. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) leaves exposed to moderate high light dramatically potentiated NO-mediated cell death in catalase-deficient (CAT1AS) but not in wild-type plants, providing genetic evidence for a partnership between NO and H2O2 during the induction of programmed cell death. With this experimental model system, the specific impact on gene expression was characterized by either NO or H2O2 alone or both molecules combined. By means of genome-wide cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis, transcriptional changes were compared in high light-treated CAT1AS and wild-type leaves treated with or without the NO donor sodium nitroprusside. Differential gene expression was detected for 214 of the approximately 8,000 transcript fragments examined. For 108 fragments, sequence analysis revealed homology to genes with a role in signal transduction, defense response, hormone interplay, proteolysis, transport, and metabolism. Surprisingly, only 16 genes were specifically induced by the combined action of NO and H2O2, whereas the majority were regulated by either of them alone. At least seven transcription factors were mutually up-regulated, indicating significant overlap between NO and H2O2 signaling pathways. These results consolidate significant cross-talk between NO and H2O2, provide new insight into the early transcriptional response of plants to increased NO and H2O2 levels, and identify target genes of the combined action of NO and H2O2 during the induction of plant cell death.
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