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Plant Cell. 2006 Aug;18(8):1862-72. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

AGL80 is required for central cell and endosperm development in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0840, USA.


During plant reproduction, the central cell of the female gametophyte becomes fertilized to produce the endosperm, a storage tissue that nourishes the developing embryo within the seed. The molecular mechanisms controlling the specification and differentiation of the central cell are poorly understood. We identified a female gametophyte mutant in Arabidopsis thaliana, fem111, that is affected in central cell development. In fem111 female gametophytes, the central cell's nucleolus and vacuole fail to mature properly. In addition, endosperm development is not initiated after fertilization of fem111 female gametophytes. fem111 contains a T-DNA insertion in AGAMOUS-LIKE80 (AGL80). FEM111/AGL80 is a member of the MADS box family of genes that likely encode transcription factors. An AGL80-green fluorescent protein fusion protein is localized to the nucleus. Within the ovule and seed, FEM111/AGL80 is expressed exclusively in the central cell and uncellularized endosperm. FEM111/AGL80 expression is also detected in roots, leaves, floral stems, anthers, and young flowers by real-time RT-PCR. FEM111/AGL80 is required for the expression of two central cell-expressed genes, DEMETER and DD46, but not for a third central cell-expressed gene, FERTILIZATION-INDEPENDENT SEED2. Together, these data suggest that FEM111/AGL80 functions as a transcription factor within the central cell gene regulatory network and controls the expression of downstream genes required for central cell development and function.

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