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Planta. 2012 Jul;236(1):153-69. doi: 10.1007/s00425-012-1599-9.

Transcriptional activity of Hyacinthus orientalis L. female gametophyte cells before and after fertilization.

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Department of Cell Biology, Institute of General and Molecular Biology, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Gagarina 9, 87-100 Toruń, Poland.


We characterized three phases of Hyacinthus orientalis L. embryo sac development, in which the transcriptional activity of the cells differed using immunolocalization of incorporated 5′-bromouracil, the total RNA polymerase II pool and the hypo- (initiation) and hyperphosphorylated (elongation) forms of RNA Pol II. The first stage, which lasts from the multinuclear stage to cellularization, is a period of high transcriptional activity, probably related to the maturation of female gametophyte cells. The second stage, encompassing the period of embryo sac maturity and the progamic phase, involves the transcriptional silencing of cells that will soon undergo fusion with male gametes. During this period in the hyacinth egg cell, there are almost no newly formed transcripts, and only a small pool of RNA Pol II is present in the nucleus. The transcriptional activity of the central cell is only slightly higher than that observed in the egg cell. The post-fertilization stage is related to the transcriptional activation of the zygote and the primary endosperm cell. The rapid increase in the pool of newly formed transcripts in these cells is accompanied by an increase in the pool of RNA Pol II, and the pattern of enzyme distribution in the zygote nucleus is similar to that observed in the somatic cells of the ovule. Our data, together with the earlier results of Pięciński et al. (2008), indicate post-fertilization synthesis and the maturation of numerous mRNA transcripts, suggesting that fertilization in H. orientalis induces the activation of the zygote and endosperm genomes.

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