J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2017, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (9): 680-692.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12561

Special Issue: Sexual Reproductions

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

ZYGOTE-ARREST 3 that encodes the tRNA ligase is essential for zygote division in Arabidopsis

Ke-Jin Yang1,2,3†, Lei Guo1,2†, Xiu-Li Hou1,2, Hua-Qin Gong1 and Chun-Ming Liu1,4*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3School of Life Science and Technology, Nanyang Normal University, Nanyang 473061, China
    4Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2017-04-25 Accepted:2017-06-16 Published:2017-06-20
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: Chun-Ming Liu (cmliu@ibcas.ac.cn)


In sexual organisms, division of the zygote initiates a new life cycle. Although several genes involved in zygote division are known in plants, how the zygote is activated to start embryogenesis has remained elusive. Here, we showed that a mutation in ZYGOTE-ARREST 3 (ZYG3) in Arabidopsis led to a tight zygote-lethal phenotype. Map-based cloning revealed that ZYG3 encodes the transfer RNA (tRNA) ligase AtRNL, which is a single-copy gene in the Arabidopsis genome. Expression analyses showed that AtRNL is expressed throughout zygotic embryogenesis, and in meristematic tissues. Using pAtRNL::cAtRNL-sYFP-complemented zyg3/zyg3 plants, we showed that AtRNL is localized exclusively in the cytoplasm, suggesting that tRNA splicing occurs primarily in the cytoplasm. Analyses using partially rescued embryos showed that mutation in AtRNL compromised splicing of intron-containing tRNA. Mutations of two tRNA endonuclease genes, SEN1 and SEN2, also led to a zygote-lethal phenotype. These results together suggest that tRNA splicing is critical for initiating zygote division in Arabidopsis.

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