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Plant Signal Behav. 2013 Sep;8(9). pii: e25422. doi: 10.4161/psb.25422. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Decreased GmAGL15 expression and reduced ethylene synthesis may contribute to reduced somatic embryogenesis in a poorly embryogenic cultivar of Glycine max.

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Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; University of Kentucky; Lexington, KY USA.


Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is the process by which cells become dedifferentiated and reprogram to follow an embryogenic pathway. It is important for regeneration of transgenic plants as well as for propagation of certain genotypes. However, competence for SE varies, even among genotypes of a species, and the basis for this variation is not understood. We have found that the MADS-box transcription factor (Glycine max) AGAMOUS-Like 15 [(Gm)AGL15] promotes SE in Arabidopsis and in soybean when overexpressed. In soybean, part of the promotion of SE is via GmAGL15-mediated control of ethylene biosynthesis and response. Addition of ACC, the precursor to ethylene, to culture media enhanced SE in Arabidopsis and soybean. Transcription factors important for embryogenesis responded directly to GmAGL15 and to ethylene accumulation. Here we correlate ethylene production and patterns of gene expression with SE potential of soybean genotypes. However, other results indicate that there is not a complete positive correlation between ethylene production and SE, indicating that the interactions between hormones, gene expression and developmental outcomes are complex.


AGL15; AGL18; Arabidopsis thaliana; Glycine max; MADS-domain; ethylene; overexpression; somatic embryo

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