MYB64 and MYB119 are required for cellularization and differentiation during female gametogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana.
ABSTRACT: In angiosperms, the egg cell forms within the multicellular, haploid female gametophyte. Female gametophyte and egg cell development occurs through a unique process in which a haploid spore initially undergoes several rounds of synchronous nuclear divisions without cytokinesis, resulting in a single cell containing multiple nuclei. The developing gametophyte then forms cell walls (cellularization) and the resulting cells differentiate to generate the egg cell and several accessory cells. The switch between free nuclear divisions and cellularization-differentiation occurs during developmental stage FG5 in Arabidopsis, and we refer to it as the FG5 transition. The molecular regulators that initiate the FG5 transition during female gametophyte development are unknown. In this study, we show using mutant analysis that two closely related MYB transcription factors, MYB64 and MYB119, act redundantly to promote this transition. MYB64 and MYB119 are expressed during the FG5 transition, and most myb64 myb119 double mutant gametophytes fail to initiate the FG5 transition, resulting in uncellularized gametophytes with supernumerary nuclei. Analysis of cell-specific markers in myb64 myb119 gametophytes that do cellularize suggests that gametophytic polarity and differentiation are also affected. We also show using multiple-mutant analysis that MYB119 expression is regulated by the histidine kinase CKI1, the primary activator of two-component signaling (TCS) during female gametophyte development. Our data establish a molecular pathway regulating the FG5 transition and implicates CKI1-dependent TCS in the promotion of cellularization, differentiation, and gamete specification during female gametogenesis.
Project description:Unlike in animals, the reproductive lineage cells in plants differentiate from within somatic tissues late in development to produce a specific haploid generation of the life cycle-male and female gametophytes. In flowering plants, the male gametophyte develops within the anthers and the female gametophyte-within the ovule. Both gametophytes consist of only a few cells. There are two major stages of gametophyte development-meiotic and post-meiotic. In the first stage, sporocyte mother cells differentiate within the anther (pollen mother cell) and the ovule (megaspore mother cell). These sporocyte mother cells undergo two meiotic divisions to produce four haploid daughter cells-male spores (microspores) and female spores (megaspores). In the second stage, the haploid spore cells undergo few asymmetric haploid mitotic divisions to produce the 3-cell male or 7-cell female gametophyte. Both stages of gametophyte development involve extensive epigenetic reprogramming, including siRNA dependent changes in DNA methylation and chromatin restructuring. This intricate mosaic of epigenetic changes determines, to a great extent, embryo and endosperm development in the future sporophyte generation.
Project description:Double fertilization is a key innovation for the evolutionary success of angiosperms by which the two fertilized female gametes, the egg cell and central cell, generate the embryo and endosperm, respectively. The female gametophyte (embryo sac) enclosed in the sporophyte is derived from a one-celled haploid cell lineage. It undergoes successive events of mitotic divisions, cellularization, and cell specification to give rise to the mature embryo sac, which contains the two female gametes accompanied by two types of accessory cells, namely synergids and antipodals. How the cell fate of the central cell is specified has long been equivocal and is further complicated by the structural diversity of female gametophyte across plant taxa. Here, MADS-box protein AGL80 was verified as a transcriptional repressor that directly suppresses the expression of accessory cell-specific genes to specify the central cell. Further genetic rescue and phylogenetic assay of the AGL80 orthologs revealed a possible conserved mechanism in the Brassicaceae family. Results from this study provide insight into the molecular determination of the second female gamete cell in Brassicaceae.
Project description:Histidine phosphotransfer proteins (HPs) are key elements of the two-component signaling system, which act as a shuttle to transfer phosphorylation signals from histidine kinases (HKs) to response regulators (RRs). CYTOKININ INDEPENDENT 1 (CKI1), a key regulator of central cell specification in the Arabidopsis female gametophyte, activates the cytokinin signaling pathway through the Arabidopsis histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHPs). There are five HP genes in Arabidopsis, AHP1-AHP5, but it remains unknown which AHP genes act downstream of CKI1 in Arabidopsis female gametophyte development. Promoter activity analysis of AHP1-AHP5 in embryo sacs revealed AHP1, AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 expression in the central cell. Phenotypic studies of various combinations of ahp mutants showed that triple mutations in AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 resulted in defective embryo sac development. Using cell-specific single and double markers in the female gametophyte, the ahp2-2 ahp3 ahp5-2/+ triple mutant ovules showed loss of central cell and antipodal cell fates and gain of egg cell or synergid cell attributes, resembling the cki1 mutant phenotypes. These data suggest that AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 are the major factors acting downstream of CKI1 in the two-component cytokinin signaling pathway to promote Arabidopsis female gametophyte development.
Project description:Gamete formation is an important step in the life cycle of sexually reproducing organisms. In flowering plants, haploid spores are formed after the meiotic division of spore mother cells. These spores develop into male and female gametophytes containing gametes after undergoing mitotic divisions. In the female, the megaspore mother cell undergoes meiosis forming four megaspores, of which one is functional and three degenerate. The megaspore then undergoes three mitotic cycles thus generating an embryo sac with eight nuclei. The embryo sac undergoes cellularization to form the mature seven-celled female gametophyte. Entry into and progression through meiosis is essential for megasporogenesis and subsequent megagametogenesis, but control of this process is not well understood. FOUR LIPS (FLP) and its paralogue MYB88, encoding R2R3 MYB transcription factors, have been extensively studied for their role in limiting the terminal division in stomatal development by direct regulation of the expression of cell cycle genes. Here it is demonstrated that FLP and MYB88 also regulate female reproduction. Both FLP and MYB88 are expressed during ovule development and their loss significantly increases the number of ovules produced by the placenta. Despite the presence of excess ovules, single and double mutants exhibit reduced seed set due to reduced female fertility. The sterility results at least in part from defective meiotic entry and progression. Therefore, FLP and MYB88 are important regulators of entry into megasporogenesis, and probably act via the regulation of cell cycle genes.
Project description:The female gametophyte of flowering plants, called the embryo sac, develops from a haploid cell named the functional megaspore, which is specified after meiosis by the diploid sporophyte. In Arabidopsis, the functional megaspore undergoes three syncitial mitotic divisions followed by cellularization to form seven cells of four cell types including two female gametes. The plant hormone auxin is important for sporophytic developmental processes, and auxin levels are known to be regulated by biosynthesis and transport. Here, we investigated the role of auxin biosynthetic genes and auxin influx carriers in embryo sac development. We find that genes from the YUCCA/TAA pathway (YUC1, YUC2, YUC8, TAA1, TAR2) are expressed asymmetrically in the developing ovule and embryo sac from the two-nuclear syncitial stage until cellularization. Mutants for YUC1 and YUC2 exhibited defects in cell specification, whereas mutations in YUC8, as well as mutations in TAA1 and TAR2, caused defects in nuclear proliferation, vacuole formation and anisotropic growth of the embryo sac. Additionally, expression of the auxin influx carriers AUX1 and LAX1 were observed at the micropylar pole of the embryo sac and in the adjacent cells of the ovule, and the aux1 lax1 lax2 triple mutant shows multiple gametophyte defects. These results indicate that both localized auxin biosynthesis and auxin import, are required for mitotic divisions, cell expansion and patterning during embryo sac development.
Project description:Plant life cycles consist of two temporally separated stages: a haploid gametophyte and a diploid sporophyte. In plants employing a haploid-diploid sexual life cycle, the transition from sporophyte to gametophyte generally depends on meiosis. However, previous work has shown that in the red seaweed Pyropia yezoensis, this transition is independent of meiosis, though how and when it occurs is unknown. Here, we explored this question using transcriptomic profiling of P. yezoensis gametophytes, sporophytes, and conchosporangia parasitically produced on sporophytes. We identify a knotted-like homeobox gene that is predominately expressed in the conchosporangium and may determine its identity. We also find that spore-like single cells isolated from the conchosporangium develop directly into gametophytes, indicating that the gametophyte identity is established before the release of conchospores and prior to the onset of meiosis. Based on our findings, we propose a triphasic life cycle for P. yezoensis involving production of gametophytes by apospory.
Project description:In Trimenia moorei, an extant member of the ancient angiosperm clade Austrobaileyales, we found a remarkable pattern of female gametophyte (egg-producing structure) development that strikingly resembles that of pollen tubes and their intrasexual competition within the maternal pollen tube transmitting tissues of most flowers. In contrast with most other flowering plants, in Trimenia, multiple female gametophytes are initiated at the base (chalazal end) of each ovule. Female gametophytes grow from their tips and compete over hundreds of micrometers to reach the apex of the nucellus and the site of fertilization. Here, the successful female gametophyte will mate with a pollen tube to produce an embryo and an endosperm. Moreover, the central tissue within the ovules of Trimenia, through which the embryo sacs grow, contains starch and other carbohydrates similar to the pollen tube transmitting tissues in the styles of most flowers. The pattern of female gametophyte development found in Trimenia is rare but by no means unique in angiosperms. Importantly, it seems that multiple female gametophytes are occasionally or frequently initiated in members of other ancient angiosperm lineages. The intensification of pollen tube (male gametophyte) competition and enhanced maternal selection among competing pollen tubes are considered to have been major contributors to the rise of angiosperms. Based on insights from Trimenia, we posit that prefertilization female gametophyte (egg) competition within individual ovules in addition to male gametophyte (sperm) competition and maternal mate choice may have been key features of the earliest angiosperms.
Project description:In flowering plants, the egg and sperm cells form within haploid gametophytes. The female gametophyte of Arabidopsis consists of two gametic cells, the egg cell and the central cell, which are flanked by five accessory cells. Both gametic and accessory cells are vital for fertilization; however, the mechanisms that underlie the formation of accessory versus gametic cell fate are unknown. In a screen for regulators of egg cell fate, we isolated the lachesis (lis) mutant which forms supernumerary egg cells. In lis mutants, accessory cells differentiate gametic cell fate, indicating that LIS is involved in a mechanism that prevents accessory cells from adopting gametic cell fate. The temporal and spatial pattern of LIS expression suggests that this mechanism is generated in gametic cells. LIS is homologous to the yeast splicing factor PRP4, indicating that components of the splice apparatus participate in cell fate decisions.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Plant gametophytes play central roles in sexual reproduction. A hallmark of the plant life cycle is that gene expression is required in the haploid gametophytes. Consequently, many mutant phenotypes are expressed in this phase. RESULTS: We perform a quantitative RNA-seq analysis of embryo sacs, comparator ovules with the embryo sacs removed, mature pollen, and seedlings to assist the identification of gametophyte functions in maize. Expression levels were determined for annotated genes in both gametophytes, and novel transcripts were identified from de novo assembly of RNA-seq reads. Transposon-related transcripts are present in high levels in both gametophytes, suggesting a connection between gamete production and transposon expression in maize not previously identified in any female gametophytes. Two classes of small signaling proteins and several transcription factor gene families are enriched in gametophyte transcriptomes. Expression patterns of maize genes with duplicates in subgenome 1 and subgenome 2 indicate that pollen-expressed genes in subgenome 2 are retained at a higher rate than subgenome 2 genes with other expression patterns. Analysis of available insertion mutant collections shows a statistically significant deficit in insertions in gametophyte-expressed genes. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis, the first RNA-seq study to compare both gametophytes in a monocot, identifies maize gametophyte functions, gametophyte expression of transposon-related sequences, and unannotated, novel transcripts. Reduced recovery of mutations in gametophyte-expressed genes is supporting evidence for their function in the gametophytes. Expression patterns of extant, duplicated maize genes reveals that selective pressures based on male gametophytic function have likely had a disproportionate effect on plant genomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In flowering plants, gametogenesis generates multicellular male and female gametophytes. In the model system Arabidopsis, the male gametophyte or pollen grain contains two sperm cells and a vegetative cell. The female gametophyte or embryo sac contains seven cells, namely one egg, two synergids, one central cell and three antipodal cells. Double fertilization of the central cell and egg produces respectively a triploid endosperm and a diploid zygote that develops further into an embryo. The genetic control of the early embryo patterning, especially the initiation of the first zygotic division and the positioning of the cell plate, is largely unknown. RESULTS: Here we report the characterization of a mutation, yaozhe (yao), that causes zygote arrest and misplacement of cell plate of the zygote, leading to early embryo lethality. In addition, gametophyte development is partially impaired. A small portion of the mutant embryo sacs are arrested at four-nucleate stage with aberrant nuclear positioning. Furthermore, the competence of male gametophytes is also compromised. YAO encodes a nucleolar protein with seven WD-repeats. Its homologues in human and yeast have been shown to be components of the U3 snoRNP complex and function in 18S rRNA processing. YAO is expressed ubiquitously, with high level of expression in tissues under active cell divisions, including embryo sacs, pollen, embryos, endosperms and root tips. CONCLUSIONS: Phenotypic analysis indicated that YAO is required for the correct positioning of the first zygotic division plane and plays a critical role in gametogenesis in Arabidopsis. Since YAO is a nucleolar protein and its counterparts in yeast and human are components of the U3 snoRNP complex, we therefore postulate that YAO is most likely involved in rRNA processing in plants as well.