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Plant Cell Rep. 2009 Jan;28(1):11-9. doi: 10.1007/s00299-008-0616-8. Epub 2008 Sep 26.

Detection of a SERK-like gene in coconut and analysis of its expression during the formation of embryogenic callus and somatic embryos.

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Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, Mérida, Mexico.


Somatic embryogenesis involves different molecular events including differential gene expression and various signal transduction pathways. One of the genes identified in early somatic embryogenesis is S OMATIC E MBRYOGENESIS R ECEPTOR-like K INASE (SERK). Cocos nucifera (L.) is one of the most recalcitrant species for in vitro regeneration, achieved so far only through somatic embryogenesis, although just a few embryos could be obtained from a single explant. In order to increase efficiency of this process we need to understand it better. Therefore, the purpose of the present work was to determine if an ortholog of the SERK gene is present in the coconut genome, isolate it and analyze its expression during somatic embryogenesis. The results showed the occurrence of a SERK ortholog referred to as CnSERK. Predicted sequence analysis showed that CnSERK encodes a SERK protein with the domains reported in the SERK proteins in other species. These domains consist of a signal peptide, a leucine zipper domain, five LRR, the Serine-Proline-Proline domain, which is a distinctive domain of the SERK proteins, a single transmembrane domain, the kinase domain with 11 subdomains and the C terminal region. Analysis of its expression showed that it could be detected in embryogenic tissues before embryo development could be observed. In contrast it was not detected or at lower levels in non-embryogenic tissues, thus suggesting that CnSERK expression is associated with induction of somatic embryogenesis and that it could be a potential marker of cells competent to form somatic embryos in coconut tissues cultured in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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