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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012;63:483-506. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042811-105507. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Early embryogenesis in flowering plants: setting up the basic body pattern.

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Department of Cell Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany.


Early embryogenesis is the critical developmental phase during which the basic features of the plant body are established: the apical-basal axis of polarity, different tissue layers, and both the root pole and the shoot pole. Polarization of the zygote correlates with the generation of apical and basal (embryonic and extraembryonic) cell fates. Whereas mechanisms of zygote polarization are still largely unknown, distinct expression domains of WOX family transcription factors as well as directional auxin transport and local auxin response are known to be involved in early apical-basal patterning. Radial patterning of tissue layers appears to be mediated by cell-cell communication involving both peptide signaling and transcription factor movement. Although the initiation of the shoot pole is still unclear, the apical organization of the embryo depends on both the proper establishment of transcription factor expression domains and, for cotyledon initiation, upward auxin flow in the protoderm. Here we focus on the essential patterning processes, drawing mainly on data from Arabidopsis thaliana and also including relevant data from other species if available.

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