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Comparative analysis of embryo proper and suspensor transcriptomes in plant embryos with different morphologies.


An important question is what genes govern the differentiation of plant embryos into suspensor and embryo proper regions following fertilization and division of the zygote. We compared embryo proper and suspensor transcriptomes of four plants that vary in embryo morphology within the suspensor region. We determined that genes encoding enzymes in several metabolic pathways leading to the formation of hormones, such as gibberellic acid, and other metabolites are up-regulated in giant scarlet runner bean and common bean suspensors. Genes involved in transport and Golgi body organization are up-regulated within the suspensors of these plants as well, strengthening the view that giant specialized suspensors serve as a hormone factory and a conduit for transferring substances to the developing embryo proper. By contrast, genes controlling transcriptional regulation, development, and cell division are up-regulated primarily within the embryo proper. Transcriptomes from less specialized soybean and Arabidopsis suspensors demonstrated that fewer genes encoding metabolic enzymes and hormones are up-regulated. Genes active in the embryo proper, however, are functionally similar to those active in scarlet runner bean and common bean embryo proper regions. We uncovered a set of suspensor- and embryo proper-specific transcription factors (TFs) that are shared by all embryos irrespective of morphology, suggesting that they are involved in early differentiation processes common to all plants. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) experiments with scarlet runner bean and soybean WOX9, an up-regulated suspensor TF, gained entry into a regulatory network important for suspensor development irrespective of morphology.

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