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Cell. 2004 Jan 9;116(1):109-19.

A MAPKK kinase gene regulates extra-embryonic cell fate in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Plant Biology, 260 Panama Street, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The Arabidopsis zygote divides asymmetrically into an embryonic apical cell and a basal cell with mostly extra-embryonic fate. This fundamental asymmetry sets the stage for further embryonic development, but the events mediating it are poorly understood. We have identified a MAPKK kinase gene, named YODA, that promotes extra-embryonic cell fates in the basal lineage. In loss-of-function mutants, the zygote does not elongate properly, and the cells of the basal lineage are eventually incorporated into the embryo instead of differentiating the extra-embryonic suspensor. Gain-of-function alleles cause exaggerated growth of the suspensor and can suppress embryonic development to a degree where no recognizable proembryo is formed. Our results imply that a MAP kinase cascade acts as a molecular switch promoting extra-embryonic fate.

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