Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Victor B Busov


Hannele Tuominen


Caspases are known to be involved in animal programmed cell death (PCD). The objective of this thesis was to use gene expression analysis and reverse genetics to determine if Arabidopsis metacaspase (AtMC) genes play a role in plant PCD. The majority of AtMC genes were found to be expressed nearly constitutively in various tissues, developmental stages, and under various inductive treatments. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants generated with AtMCpromoter::AtMCgene::GUS fusions showed expression of the reporter gene in leaves, vasculature, trichomes, siliques, anthers, and during embryo development. Preliminary phenotypic characterization of single and double Arabidopsis AtMC loss-of-function mutants suggested that the expression of the AtMC genes are highly functionally redundant. Nevertheless, our results suggest that AtMC1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 may be directly involved in rosette and/or stem development. Although this study does not provide a definitive role of MCs in plant PCD, it lays the foundation for their further in-depth analysis.