Plant Biology

Cell Fate and Gametes

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Science  02 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5816, pp. 1195
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5816.1195b

Most eukaryotes, including plants, form female gametes or eggs. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the egg is formed from a haploid spore that undergoes multiple division cycles to create a structure known as a gametophyte that contains eight nuclei in four different cell types, including the egg. By examining egg-specific mutants, Gross-Hardt et al. were able to identify a gene, LACHESIS (LIS), that controls cell fate in egg development, independent of other gametophytic tissues. In heterozygote plants lacking one functional copy of LIS, 50% of the resulting gametophytes are malformed with multiple eggs, suggesting that LIS functions in the developmental specification of the egg. Furthermore, these eggs derive from a specific gametophytic cell type, the accessory cell, which forms next to the egg, potentially acting as a reserve in case of reproductive failure. LIS encodes a WD40 repeat protein homologous to a yeast splicing factor, which suggests that some aspects of cell fate may be controlled by the spliceosome. — LMZ

PLoS Biol. 5 e47 (2007).

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