Functional analysis of sporophytic transcripts repressed by the female gametophyte in the ovule of Arabidopsis thaliana.
ABSTRACT: To investigate the genetic and molecular regulation that the female gametophyte could exert over neighboring sporophytic regions of the ovule, we performed a quantitative comparison of global expression in wild-type and nozzle/sporocyteless (spl) ovules of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis), using Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing (MPSS). This comparison resulted in 1517 genes showing at least 3-fold increased expression in ovules lacking a female gametophyte, including those encoding 89 transcription factors, 50 kinases, 25 proteins containing a RNA-recognition motif (RRM), and 20 WD40 repeat proteins. We confirmed that eleven of these genes are either preferentially expressed or exclusive of spl ovules lacking a female gametophyte as compared to wild-type, and showed that six are also upregulated in determinant infertile1 (dif1), a meiotic mutant affected in a REC8-like cohesin that is also devoided of female gametophytes. The sporophytic misexpression of IOREMPTE, a WD40/transducin repeat gene that is preferentially expressed in the L1 layer of spl ovules, caused the arrest of female gametogenesis after differentiation of a functional megaspore. Our results show that in Arabidopsis, the sporophytic-gametophytic cross talk includes a negative regulation of the female gametophyte over specific genes that are detrimental for its growth and development, demonstrating its potential to exert a repressive control over neighboring regions in the ovule.
Project description:The life cycle of flowering plants alternates between a predominant sporophytic (diploid) and an ephemeral gametophytic (haploid) generation that only occurs in reproductive organs. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the female gametophyte is deeply embedded within the ovule, complicating the study of the genetic and molecular interactions involved in the sporophytic to gametophytic transition. Massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) was used to conduct a quantitative large-scale transcriptional analysis of the fully differentiated Arabidopsis ovule prior to fertilization. The expression of 9775 genes was quantified in wild-type ovules, additionally detecting >2200 new transcripts mapping to antisense or intergenic regions. A quantitative comparison of global expression in wild-type and sporocyteless (spl) individuals resulted in 1301 genes showing 25-fold reduced or null activity in ovules lacking a female gametophyte, including those encoding 92 signalling proteins, 75 transcription factors, and 72 RNA-binding proteins not reported in previous studies based on microarray profiling. A combination of independent genetic and molecular strategies confirmed the differential expression of 28 of them, showing that they are either preferentially active in the female gametophyte, or dependent on the presence of a female gametophyte to be expressed in sporophytic cells of the ovule. Among 18 genes encoding pentatricopeptide-repeat proteins (PPRs) that show transcriptional activity in wild-type but not spl ovules, CIHUATEOTL (At4g38150) is specifically expressed in the female gametophyte and necessary for female gametogenesis. These results expand the nature of the transcriptional universe present in the ovule of Arabidopsis, and offer a large-scale quantitative reference of global expression for future genomic and developmental studies.
Project description:The development of ovule in rice (Oryza sativa) is vital during its life cycle. To gain more understanding of the molecular events associated with the ovule development, we used RNA sequencing approach to perform transcriptome-profiling analysis of the leaf and ovules at four developmental stages. In total, 25,401, 23,343, 23,647 and 23,806 genes were identified from the four developmental stages of the ovule, respectively. We identified a number of differently expressed genes (DEGs) from three adjacent stage comparisons, which may play crucial roles in ovule development. The DEGs were then conducted functional annotations and Kyoto encyclopedia of genes and genomes (KEGG) pathway analyses. Genes related to cellular component biogenesis, membrane-bounded organelles and reproductive regulation were identified to be highly expressed during the ovule development. Different expression levels of auxin-related and cytokinin-related genes were also identified at various stages, providing evidence for the role of sporophytic ovule tissue in female gametophyte development from the aspect of gene expression. Generally, an overall transcriptome analysis for rice ovule development has been conducted. These results increased our knowledge of the complex molecular and cellular events that occur during the development of rice ovule and provided foundation for further studies on rice ovule development.
Project description:Eukaryotic cells rely on the accuracy and efficiency of vesicular traffic. In plants, disturbances in vesicular trafficking are well studied in quickly dividing root meristem cells or polar growing root hairs and pollen tubes. The development of the female gametophyte, a unique haploid reproductive structure located in the ovule, has received far less attention in studies of vesicular transport. Key molecules providing the specificity of vesicle formation and its subsequent recognition and fusion with the acceptor membrane are Rab proteins. Rabs are anchored to membranes by covalently linked geranylgeranyl group(s) that are added by the Rab geranylgeranyl transferase (RGT) enzyme. Here we show that Arabidopsis plants carrying mutations in the gene encoding the beta subunit of RGT (rgtb1) exhibit severely disrupted female gametogenesis and this effect is of sporophytic origin. Mutations in rgtb1 lead to internalization of the PIN1 and PIN3 proteins from the basal membranes to vesicles in pro-vascular cells of the funiculus. Decreased transport of auxin out of the ovule is accompanied by auxin accumulation in a tissue surrounding the growing gametophyte. In addition, female gametophyte development arrests at the uni- or binuclear stage in a significant portion of the rgtb1 ovules. These observations suggest that communication between the sporophyte and the developing female gametophyte relies on Rab dependent vesicular traffic of the PIN1 and PIN3 transporters and auxin efflux out of the ovule.
Project description:Pollen tube germination, growth, and guidance (progamic phase) culminating in sperm discharge is a multi-stage process including complex interactions between the male gametophyte as well as sporophytic tissues and the female gametophyte (embryo sac), respectively. Inter- and intra-specific crossing barriers in maize and Tripsacum have been studied and a precise description of progamic pollen tube development in maize is reported here. It was found that pollen germination and initial tube growth are rather unspecific, but an early, first crossing barrier was detected before arrival at the transmitting tract. Pollination of maize silks with Tripsacum pollen and incompatible pollination of Ga1s/Ga1s-maize silks with ga1-maize pollen revealed another two incompatibility barriers, namely transmitting tract mistargeting and insufficient growth support. Attraction and growth support by the transmitting tract seem to play key roles for progamic pollen tube growth. After leaving transmitting tracts, pollen tubes have to navigate across the ovule in the ovular cavity. Pollination of an embryo sac-less maize RNAi-line allowed the role of the female gametophyte for pollen tube guidance to be determined in maize. It was found that female gametophyte controlled guidance is restricted to a small region around the micropyle, approximately 50-100 microm in diameter. This area is comparable to the area of influence of previously described ZmEA1-based short-range female gametophyte signalling. In conclusion, the progamic phase is almost completely under sporophytic control in maize.
Project description:Ovules are female reproductive organs of angiosperms, containing sporophytic integuments and gametophytic embryo sacs. After fertilization, embryo sacs develop into embryos and endosperm whereas integuments into seed coat. Ovule development is regulated by transcription factors (TF) whose expression is often controlled by microRNAs. Mutations of Arabidopsis DICER-LIKE 1 (DCL1), a microRNA processing protein, caused defective ovule development and reduced female fertility. However, it was not clear whether other microRNA processing proteins participate in this process and how defective ovule development influenced female fertility. We report that mutations of HUA ENHANCER1 (HEN1) and HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1 (HYL1) interfered with integument growth. The sporophytic defect caused abnormal embryo sac development and inability of mutant ovules to attract pollen tubes, leading to reduced female fertility. We show that the role of HEN1 in integument growth is cell-autonomous. Although AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 6 (ARF6) and ARF8 were ectopically expressed in mutant ovules, consistent with the reduction of microRNA167 in hen1, introducing arf6;arf8 did not suppress ovule defects of hen1, suggesting the involvement of more microRNAs in this process. Results presented indicate that the microRNA processing machinery is critical for ovule development and seed production through multiple microRNAs and their targets.
Project description:Land plants are characterised by haplo-diploid life cycles, and developing ovules are the organs in which the haploid and diploid generations coexist. Recently it has been shown that hormones such as auxin and cytokinins play important roles in ovule development and patterning. The establishment and regulation of auxin levels in cells is predominantly determined by the activity of the auxin efflux carrier proteins PIN-FORMED (PIN). To study the roles of PIN1 and PIN3 during ovule development we have used mutant alleles of both genes and also perturbed PIN1 and PIN3 expression using micro-RNAs controlled by the ovule specific DEFH9 (DEFIFICENS Homologue 9) promoter. PIN1 down-regulation and pin1-5 mutation severely affect female gametophyte development since embryo sacs arrest at the mono- and/or bi-nuclear stages (FG1 and FG3 stage). PIN3 function is not required for ovule development in wild-type or PIN1-silenced plants. We show that sporophytically expressed PIN1 is required for megagametogenesis, suggesting that sporophytic auxin flux might control the early stages of female gametophyte development, although auxin response is not visible in developing embryo sacs.
Project description:Ovules contain the female gametophytes which are fertilized during pollination to initiate seed development. Thus, the number of ovules that are produced during flower development is an important determinant of seed crop yield and plant fitness. Mutants with pleiotropic effects on development often alter the number of ovules, but specific regulators of ovule number have been difficult to identify in traditional mutant screens. We used natural variation in Arabidopsis accessions to identify new genes involved in the regulation of ovule number. The ovule numbers per flower of 189 Arabidopsis accessions were determined and found to have broad phenotypic variation that ranged from 39 ovules to 84 ovules per pistil. Genome-Wide Association tests revealed several genomic regions that are associated with ovule number. T-DNA insertion lines in candidate genes from the most significantly associated loci were screened for ovule number phenotypes. The NEW ENHANCER of ROOT DWARFISM (NERD1) gene was found to have pleiotropic effects on plant fertility that include regulation of ovule number and both male and female gametophyte development. Overexpression of NERD1 increased ovule number per fruit in a background-dependent manner and more than doubled the total number of flowers produced in all backgrounds tested, indicating that manipulation of NERD1 levels can be used to increase plant productivity.
Project description:Apomixis in Hieracium subgenus Pilosella initiates in ovules when sporophytic cells termed aposporous initial (AI) cells enlarge near sexual cells undergoing meiosis. AI cells displace the sexual structures and divide by mitosis to form unreduced embryo sac(s) without meiosis (apomeiosis) that initiate fertilization-independent embryo and endosperm development. In some Hieracium subgenus Pilosella species, these events are controlled by the dominant LOSS OF APOMEIOSIS (LOA) and LOSS OF PARTHENOGENESIS (LOP) loci. In H. praealtum and H. piloselloides, which both contain the same core LOA locus, the timing and frequency of AI cell formation is altered in derived mutants exhibiting abnormal funiculus growth and in transgenic plants expressing rolB which alters cellular sensitivity to auxin. The impact on apomictic and sexual reproduction was examined here when a chimeric RNAse gene was targeted to the funiculus and basal portions of the ovule, and also when polar auxin transport was inhibited during ovule development following N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) application. Both treatments led to ovule deformity in the funiculus and distal parts of the ovule and LOA-dependent alterations in the timing, position, and frequency of AI cell formation. In the case of NPA treatment, this correlated with increased expression of DR5:GFP in the ovule, which marks the accumulation of the plant hormone auxin. Our results show that sporophytic information potentiated by funiculus growth and polar auxin transport influences ovule development, the initiation of apomixis, and the progression of embryo sac development in Hieracium. Signals associated with ovule pattern formation and auxin distribution or perception may influence the capacity of sporophytic ovule cells to respond to LOA.
Project description:Protein ubiquitination is critical for numerous processes in eukaryotes. The ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) is required for ubiquitination. The Arabidopsis genome has approximately 37 E2 genes, but in vivo functions for most of them remain unknown. In this study we observed that knockout mutants of Arabidopsis UBC22 had much-reduced silique length and seed number, with nearly 90% of ovules aborted. Analyses revealed that the majority of mutant embryo sacs displayed severe defects and often contained no gamete nuclei. There was no difference between mutant and wild-type Arabidopsis at the megaspore mother cell stage; however, the functional megaspore was either not present or appeared abnormal in a large portion of mutant ovules, suggesting that the defect started with functional megaspore degeneration in the mutants. Degeneration continued during megagametogenesis, such that the percentage of mature embryo sacs without any gamete nuclei was much greater than the percentage of developing ovules without a functional megaspore and, in addition, various abnormalities in megagametogenesis were observed. Additionally, heterozygous plants had only 13.1% of ovules aborted, indicating that the heterozygous sporophytic tissues could affect the development of the mutant female gametophyte. UBC22 is the sole member of an Arabidopsis E2 subfamily, and is more closely related to one type of E2s in animals that catalyzes Lys11-specific ubiquitination. Indeed, our results showed that Arabidopsis UBC22 could catalyze ubiquitin dimer formation in vitro in a Lys11-dependent manner, suggesting that it likely catalyzes Lys11-linked ubiquitination in plants. This study has thus identified one biochemical property of UBC22 and revealed a novel function in female gametophyte development.
Project description:In higher plants, the female germline is formed from the megaspore mother cell (MMC), a single cell in the premeiotic ovule. Previously, it was reported that mutants in the RNA-dependent DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway might be involved in restricting the female germline to a single nucellus cell. We show that the DRM methyltransferase double mutant <i>drm1drm2</i> also presents ectopic enlarged cells, consistent with supernumerary MMC-like cells. In wild-type ovules, MMC differentiation requires SPOROCYTELESS/NOZZLE (SPL/NZZ), as demonstrated by the <i>spl/nzz</i> mutant failing to develop an MMC. We address the poorly understood upstream regulation of SPL/NZZ in ovules, showing that the RdDM pathway is important to restrict SPL/NZZ expression. In <i>ago9</i>, <i>rdr6</i> and <i>drm1drm2</i> mutants, SPL/NZZ is expressed ectopically, suggesting that the multiple MMC-like cells observed might be attributable to the ectopic expression of SPL/NZZ. We show that the ovule identity gene, <i>SEEDSTICK</i>, directly regulates <i>AGO9</i> and <i>RDR6</i> expression in the ovule and therefore indirectly regulates SPL/NZZ expression. A model is presented describing the network required to restrict SPL/NZZ expression to specify a single MMC.