J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (3): 310-336.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12747

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Translating auxin responses into ovules, seeds and yield: Insight from Arabidopsis and the cereals

Neil J Shirley, Matthew K. Aubert, Laura G. Wilkinson, Dayton C. Bird, Jorge Lora, Xiujuan Yang and Matthew R. Tucker*   

  1. School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Waite Research Institute, The University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, SA, Australia

    *Correspondence:

    Email: Matthew R. Tucker(matthew.tucker@adelaide.edu.au)
  • Received:2018-07-26 Accepted:2018-11-16 Online:2018-11-26 Published:2019-03-01

Abstract: Grain production in cereal crops depends on the stable formation of male and female gametes in the flower. In most angiosperms, the female gamete is produced from a germline located deep within the ovary, protected by several layers of maternal tissue, including the ovary wall, ovule integuments and nucellus. In the field, germline formation and floret fertility are major determinants of yield potential, contributing to traits such as seed number, weight and size. As such, stimuli affecting the timing and duration of reproductive phases, as well as the viability, size and number of cells within reproductive organs can significantly impact yield. One key stimulant is the phytohormone auxin, which influences growth and morphogenesis of female tissues during gynoecium development, gametophyte formation, and endosperm cellularization. In this review we consider the role of the auxin signaling pathway during ovule and seed development, first in the context of Arabidopsis and then in the cereals. We summarize the gene families involved and highlight distinct expression patterns that suggest a range of roles in reproductive cell specification and fate. This is discussed in terms of seed production and how targeted modification of different tissues might facilitate improvements.

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