New Phytologist Editors' Choice: November 2016, 212:3

Last updated: 13 Oct, 2016

Plant senescence

This latest New Phytologist Editors’ choice highlights a virtual issue on Plant senescence. Honorary Treasurer and former New Phytologist Editor Howard Thomas and Co-Editor Helen Ougham have compiled this collection that highlights a diverse field of enquiry which encompasses the full and broad scope of plant sciences, from molecular-level research to global studies (Thomas & Ougham 2016).


The timing of this collection coincides with 8th International Symposium on Plant Senescence which will take place in Jeju, Korea (31 October – 4 November 2016), and also comes when those of us in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying the changing of the seasons and the rich palette of fall colours.


Figure 1 from Thomas & Ougham (2016). Leaves change colour as their lives end.

Figure 1 from Thomas & Ougham (2016). Leaves change colour as their lives end.


This collection also coincides happily with the award to Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in discovering mechanisms for autophagy. Autophagy, the process by which organelles or cytoplasmic components are maintained and repaired by dismantling and recycling damaged components, has been implicated in age-related changes to plant physiology and in plant pathology, and thus features highly in senescence research (Thomas 2013). The process of autophagy was originally identified in mammalian and yeast cells, but much of Prof. Oshumi’s work in this area has been in plant sciences, including collaborations with New Phytologist Editors Ralph Panstruga and Ken Shirasu (Yoshimoto et al. 2009).


Sarah Lennon
Managing Editor
New Phytologist


Yoshimoto K., Jikumaru Y.,  Kamiya Y., Kusano M., Consonni C., Panstruga P., Ohsumi Y., Shirasu, K. 2009. Autophagy Negatively Regulates Cell Death by Controlling NPR1-Dependent Salicylic Acid Signaling during Senescence and the Innate Immune Response in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21: 2914–2927.


Thomas H. 2013. Senescence, ageing and death of the whole plant. New Phytologist 197: 696–711.


Thomas H., Ougham H. 2016. Introduction to a Virtual Issue on plant senescence. New Phytologist 212: 531–536