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J Exp Bot. 2012 Jun;63(10):3571-86. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers015. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

D-type cyclins control cell division and developmental rate during Arabidopsis seed development.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Seed development in Arabidopsis is characterized by stereotypical division patterns, suggesting that coordinated control of cell cycle may be required for correct patterning and growth of the embryo and endosperm. D-type cyclins (CYCD) are key cell cycle regulators with roles in developmental processes, but knowledge regarding their involvement in seed development remains limited. Here, a family-wide gene expression, and loss- and gain-of-function approach was adopted to reveal additional functions for CYCDs in the development of seed tissues. CYCD genes have both discrete and overlapping tissue-specific expression patterns in the seed as revealed by GUS reporter gene expression. Analysis of different mutant combinations revealed that correct CYCD levels are required in seed development. The CYCD3 subgroup is specifically required as its loss caused delayed development, whereas overexpression in the embryo and endosperm of CYCD3;1 or a previously uncharacterized gene, CYCD7;1, variously leads to induced proliferation, abnormal phenotypes, and elevated seed abortion. CYCD3;1 overexpression provoked a delay in embryonic developmental progression and abnormalities including additional divisions of the hypophysis and suspensor, regions where CYCD3 genes are normally expressed, but did not affect endosperm development. Overexpression of CYCD7;1, not normally expressed in seed development, promoted overgrowth of both embryo and endosperm through increased division and cell enlargement. In contrast to post-germination growth, where pattern and organ size is not generally related to division, results suggest that a close control of cell division through regulation of CYCD activity is important during seed development in conferring both developmental rate and correct patterning.

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