Leaf senescence is an important developmental process involving orderly disassembly of macromolecules for relocating nutrients from leaves to other organs and is critical for plants’ fitness. Leaf senescence is the response of an intricate integration of various environmental signals and leaf age information and involves a complex and highly regulated process with the coordinated actions of multiple pathways. Impressive progress has been made in understanding how senescence signals are perceived and processed, how the orderly degeneration process is regulated, how the senescence program interacts with environmental signals, and how senescence regulatory genes contribute to plant productivity and fitness. Employment of systems approaches using omics-based technologies and characterization of key regulators have been fruitful in providing newly emerging regulatory mechanisms. This review mainly discusses recent advances in systems understanding of leaf senescence from a molecular network-dynamics perspective. Genetic strategies for improving the productivity and quality of crops are also described.
Keywords : chloroplasts, environmental stresses, leaf senescence, nutrient remobilization, plant hormones, plant productivity, spatiotemporal regulatory networks