J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2012, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (1): 55-64.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2011.01089.x

Special Issue: Sexual Reproductions

• Plant Reproduction Biology • Previous Articles    

EMBRYONIC FACTOR 19 Encodes a Pentatricopeptide Repeat Protein that is Essential for the Initiation of Zygotic Embryogenesis in Arabidopsis

Dali Yu1,2, Li Jiang1,2, Huaqin Gong1 and Chun-Ming Liu1*   

  1. 1Center for Signal Transduction and Metabolomics, Key Laboratory of Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanxincun 20, Fragrant Hill, Beijing 100093, China
    2Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yuquan Road 19, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2011-04-21 Accepted:2011-05-22 Published:2011-11-21
  • About author:*Corresponding author Tel: +86 10 6283 6663; E-mail: cmliu@ibcas.ac.cn


Early embryogenesis is the most fundamental developmental process in biology. Screening of ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)-mutagenized populations of Arabidopsis thaliana led to the identification of a zygote-lethal mutant embryonic factor 19 (fac19) in which embryo development was arrested at the elongated zygote to octant stage. The number of endosperm nuclei decreased significantly in fac19 embryos. Genetic analysis showed fac19 was caused by a single recessive mutation with typical mendelian segregation, suggesting equal maternal and paternal contributions of FAC19 towards zygotic embryogenesis. Positional cloning showed that FAC19 encodes a putative mitochondrial protein with 16 conserved pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) motifs. The fac19 mutation caused a conversion from hydrophilic serine located in a previously unknown domain to hydrophobic leucine. Crosses between FAC19/fac19 and the T-DNA insertion mutants in the same gene failed to complement the fac19 defects, confirming the identity of the gene. This study revealed the critical importance of a PPR protein-mediated mitochondrial function in early embryogenesis.

Yu D, Jiang L, Gong H, Liu CM (2012) EMBRYONIC FACTOR 19 encodes a pentatricopeptide repeat protein that is essential for the initiation of zygotic embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 54(1), 55–64.

Key words: embryogenesis, mitochondrial proteins, pentatricopeptide repeat motifs, zygote activation

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