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Polycomb group gene function in sexual and asexual seed development in angiosperms.

Authors
  • Rodrigues, Julio C M
  • Luo, Ming
  • Berger, Frédéric
  • Koltunow, Anna M G
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sexual plant reproduction
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2010
Volume
23
Issue
2
Pages
123–133
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00497-009-0131-2
PMID: 20039181
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In sexually reproducing angiosperms, double fertilization initiates seed development, giving rise to two fertilization products, the embryo and the endosperm. In the endosperm, a terminal nutritive tissue that supports embryo growth, certain genes are expressed differentially depending on their parental origin, and this genomic imbalance is required for proper seed formation. This parent-of-origin effect on gene expression, called genomic imprinting, is controlled epigenetically through histone modifications and DNA methylation. In the sexual model plant Arabidopsis, the Polycomb group (PcG) genes of the plant Fertilization Independent Seed (FIS)-class control genomic imprinting by specifically silencing maternal or paternal target alleles through histone modifications. Mutations in FIS genes can lead to a bypass in the requirement of fertilization for the initiation of endosperm development and seed abortion. In this review, we discuss the role of the FIS complex in establishing and maintaining genomic imprinting, focusing on recent advances in elucidating the expression and function of FIS-related genes in maize, rice, and Hieracium, and particularly including apomictic Hieracium species that do not require paternal contribution and thus form seeds asexually. Surprisingly, not all FIS-mediated functions described in Arabidopsis are conserved. However, the function of some PcG components are required for viable seed formation in seeds formed via sexual and asexual processes (apomixis) in Hieracium, suggesting a conservation of the seed viability function in some eudicots.

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