Paternal Control of Embryonic Patterning in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Science  13 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5920, pp. 1485-1488
DOI: 10.1126/science.1167784

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The YODA (YDA) mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway promotes elongation of the Arabidopsis zygote and development of its basal daughter cell into the extra-embryonic suspensor. Here, we show that the interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase (IRAK)/Pelle-like kinase gene SHORT SUSPENSOR (SSP) regulates this pathway through a previously unknown parent-of-origin effect. SSP transcripts are produced in mature pollen but do not appear to be translated. Instead, they are delivered via the sperm cells to the zygote and the endosperm, where SSP protein transiently accumulates. Ectopic expression of SSP protein in the leaf epidermis is sufficient to activate YDA-dependent signaling. We propose that SSP protein produced from paternal transcripts upon fertilization triggers zygotic YDA activity, providing an essential temporal cue for the regulation of the asymmetric first division.

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