he research, led by the University of Warwick and published in the journal Science, provides the first evidence that plants have evolved ways to control embryo growth and development by emitting information from surrounding cells.
Plant embryos are found within seeds and, once germinated, give rise to the adult plant. It was previously thought that embryo development was determined by the genetic make-up of the embryo alone.
The new research has however shown that specific cell-types present in the embryo environment can send out protein signals to also influence this process.
This situation mirrors a similar scenario in mammals, whereby embryo development is regulated by signals sent out by neighboring placental cells.
We’ve looked at this sort of thing earlier, in: Epigenetic: DNA distinguishes young vs. old duplicate genes, DNA doesn’t even tell teeth what they should look like, and How much does DNA influence cell shape? (Not much)
The Central Dogma isn’t looking too healthy either, by all accounts.
Here’s the abstract (paywall):
Plant embryogenesis initiates with the establishment of an apical-basal axis; however, the molecular mechanisms accompanying this early event remain unclear. Here, we show that a small cysteine-rich peptide family is required for formation of the zygotic basal cell lineage and proembryo patterning in Arabidopsis. EMBRYO SURROUNDING FACTOR 1 (ESF1) peptides accumulate before fertilization in central cell gametes and thereafter in embryo-surrounding endosperm cells. Biochemical and structural analyses revealed cleavage of ESF1 propeptides to form biologically active mature peptides. Further, these peptides act in a non–cell-autonomous manner and synergistically with the receptor-like kinase SHORT SUSPENSOR to promote suspensor elongation through the YODA mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Our findings demonstrate that the second female gamete and its sexually derived endosperm regulate early embryonic patterning in flowering plants. – L. M. Costa, E. Marshall, M. Tesfaye, K. A. T. Silverstein, M. Mori, Y. Umetsu, S. L. Otterbach, R. Papareddy, H. G. Dickinson, K. Boutiller, K. A. VandenBosch, S. Ohki, J. F. Gutierrez-Marcos. Central Cell-Derived Peptides Regulate Early Embryo Patterning in Flowering Plants. Science, 2014; 344 (6180): 168 DOI: 10.1126/science.1243005
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