LEAFY COTYLEDON1 expression in the endosperm

The endosperm provides nutrients and growth regulators to the embryo during seed development. LEAFY COTYLEDON1 (LEC1) has long been known to be essential for embryo maturation. LEC1 is expressed in both the embryo and the endosperm; however, the functional relevance of the endosperm-expressed LEC1 for seed development is unclear. Here, we provide genetic and transgenic evidence demonstrating that endosperm-expressed LEC1 is necessary and sufficient for embryo maturation. We show that endosperm-synthesized LEC1 is capable of orchestrating full seed maturation in the absence of embryo-expressed LEC1. Inversely, without LEC1 expression in the endosperm, embryo development arrests even in the presence of functional LEC1 alleles in the embryo.

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Fig:Loss-of-function of LEC1 in the endosperm disrupts seed development.

We further reveal that LEC1expression in the endosperm begins at the zygote stage and the LEC1 protein is then trafficked to the embryo to activate processes of seed maturation. Our findings thus establish a key role for endosperm in regulating embryo development.

Song, J., Xie, X., Chen, C. et al. LEAFY COTYLEDON1 expression in the endosperm enables embryo maturation in Arabidopsis. Nat Commun12, 3963 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24234-1

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