J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (9): 642-656.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12536

Special Issue: Sexual Reproductions

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Acetylglutamate kinase is required for both gametophyte function and embryo development in Arabidopsis thaliana

Jie Huang, Dan Chen, Hailong Yan, Fei Xie, Ying Yu, Liyao Zhang, Mengxiang Sun and Xiongbo Peng*   

  1. State Key Laboratory for Hybrid Rice, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2017-02-10 Accepted:2017-03-14 Published:2017-03-15
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: Xiongbo Peng (bobopx@whu.edu.cn)


The specific functions of the genes encoding arginine biosynthesis enzymes in plants are not well characterized. We report the isolation and characterization of Arabidopsis thaliana N-acetylglutamate kinase (NAGK), which catalyzes the second step of arginine biosynthesis. NAGK is a plastid-localized protein and is expressed during most developmental processes in Arabidopsis. Heterologous expression of the Arabidopsis NAGK gene in a NAGK-deficient Escherichia coli strain fully restores bacterial growth on arginine-deficient medium. nagk mutant pollen tubes grow more slowly than wild type pollen tubes and the phenotype is restored by either specifically through complementation by NAGK in pollen, or exogenous supplementation of arginine. nagk female gametophytes are defective in micropylar pollen tube guidance due to the fact that female gametophyte cell fate specification was specifically affected. Expression of NAGK in synergid cells rescues the defect of nagk female gametophytes. Loss-of-function of NAGK results in Arabidopsis embryos not developing beyond the four-celled embryo stage. The embryo-defective phenotype in nagk/NAGK plants cannot be rescued by watering nagk/NAGK plants with arginine or ornithine supplementation. In conclusion, our results reveal a novel role of NAGK and arginine in regulating gametophyte function and embryo development, and provide valuable insights into arginine transport during embryo development.

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