From embryo sac to oil and protein bodies: embryo development in the model legume Medicago truncatula

Authors

  • Xin-Ding Wang,

    1. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Youhong Song,

    1. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Michael B. Sheahan,

    1. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
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  • Manohar L. Garg,

    1. School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, 2308, Australia
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  • Ray J. Rose

    1. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
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Author for correspondence:
Ray J. Rose
Tel: +61 2 49215711
Email: Ray.Rose@newcastle.edu.au

Summary

  • The cell and developmental biology of zygotic embryogenesis in the model legume Medicago truncatula has received little attention. We studied M. truncatula embryogenesis from embryo sac until cotyledon maturation, including oil and protein body biogenesis.
  • We characterized embryo development using light and electron microscopy, measurement of protein and lipid fatty acid accumulation and by profiling the expression of key seed storage genes.
  • Embryo sac development in M. truncatula is of the Polygonum type. A distinctive multicellular hypophysis and suspensor develops before the globular stage and by the early cotyledon stage, the procambium connects the developing apical meristems. In the storage parenchyma of cotyledons, ovoid oil bodies surround protein bodies and the plasma membrane. Four major lipid fatty acids accumulate as cotyledons develop, paralleling the expression of OLEOSIN and the storage protein genes, VICILIN and LEGUMIN.
  • Zygotic embryogenesis in M. truncatula features the development of a distinctive multicellular hypophysis and an endopolyploid suspensor with basal transfer cell. A clear procambial connection between the apical meristems is evident and there is a characteristic arrangement of oil bodies in the cotyledons and radicle. Our data help link embryogenesis to the genetic regulation of oil and protein body biogenesis in legume seed.

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