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Plant Cell. 2017 Sep;29(9):2106-2125. doi: 10.1105/tpc.17.00099. Epub 2017 Aug 16.

Zygotic Genome Activation Occurs Shortly after Fertilization in Maize.

Author information

1
Cell Biology and Plant Biochemistry, Biochemie-Zentrum Regensburg, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
2
Institute of Functional Genomics, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
3
Cell Biology and Plant Biochemistry, Biochemie-Zentrum Regensburg, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany thomas.dresselhaus@ur.de.

Abstract

The formation of a zygote via the fusion of an egg and sperm cell and its subsequent asymmetric division herald the start of the plant's life cycle. Zygotic genome activation (ZGA) is thought to occur gradually, with the initial steps of zygote and embryo development being primarily maternally controlled, and subsequent steps being governed by the zygotic genome. Here, using maize (Zea mays) as a model plant system, we determined the timing of zygote development and generated RNA-seq transcriptome profiles of gametes, zygotes, and apical and basal daughter cells. ZGA occurs shortly after fertilization and involves ∼10% of the genome being activated in a highly dynamic pattern. In particular, genes encoding transcriptional regulators of various families are activated shortly after fertilization. Further analyses suggested that chromatin assembly is strongly modified after fertilization, that the egg cell is primed to activate the translational machinery, and that hormones likely play a minor role in the initial steps of early embryo development in maize. Our findings provide important insights into gamete and zygote activity in plants, and our RNA-seq transcriptome profiles represent a comprehensive, unique RNA-seq data set that can be used by the research community.

PMID:
28814645
PMCID:
PMC5635985
DOI:
10.1105/tpc.17.00099
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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