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Dev Cell. 2012 Nov 13;23(5):1043-58. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.09.011. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Mitochondrial GCD1 dysfunction reveals reciprocal cell-to-cell signaling during the maturation of Arabidopsis female gametes.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Development Biology, College of Life Science, State Key Laboratory of Plant Hybrid Rice, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China.


Cell-to-cell communication in embryo sacs is thought to regulate the development of female gametes in flowering plants, but the details remain poorly understood. Here, we report a mitochondrial protein, GAMETE CELL DEFECTIVE 1 (GCD1), enriched in gametophytes that is essential for final maturation of female gametes. Using Arabidopsis gcd1 mutants, we found that final maturation of the egg and central cells is not required for double fertilization but is necessary for embryogenesis initiation and endosperm development. Furthermore, nonautonomous effects, observed when GCD1 or AAC2 function is disrupted, suggest that mitochondrial function influences reciprocal signaling between central and egg cells to regulate maturation of the partner (egg or central) cell. Our findings confirm that cell-to-cell communication is important in functional maturation of female gametic cells and suggest that both egg and central cells sense and transmit their mitochondrial metabolic status as an important cue that regulates the coordination of gamete maturation.

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