Embryo development in Carica papaya Linn
Benavides Acevedo, Miguel Francisco
Bolaños Villegas, Pablo Alberto
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Papaya (Carica papaya Linn.) is a tropical plant whose draft genome has been sequenced. Papaya produces large fruits rich in vitamins A and C and is an important cash crop in developing countries. Nonetheless, little is known about how the female gametophyte develops, how it is fertilized and how it develops into a mature seed containing an embryo and an endosperm. The Papaya female gametophyte displays a Polygonum-type architecture consisting of two synergid cells, an egg cell, a central cell, and three antipodal cells. Reports are available of the presumed existence of varieties in which cross fertilization is bypassed and autonomous development of embryos occurs (e.g., apomixis). In this study, we analyzed the development of female gametophytes in a commercial Hawaiian parental line and in the presumed apomictic Costa Rican line L1. Samples were collected before and after anthesis to compare the overall structure, size and transcriptional patterns of several genes that may be involved in egg and endosperm cell fate and proliferation. These genes were the putative papaya homologs of ARGONAUTE9 (AGO9), MEDEA (MEA), RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED-1 (RBR1), and SLOW WALKER-1 (SWA1). Our results suggest that its feasible to identify the contour of structural features of Polygonum-type development, and that in bagged female flowers of line L1 we might have observed autonomous development of embryo-like structures. Possible downregulation of papaya homologs for AGO9, MEA, RBR1 and SWA1 was observed in embryo sacs from line L1 before and after anthesis, which may suggest a tentative link between suspected apomixis and transcriptional downregulation of genes for RNA-directed DNA methylation, histone remodelers, and rRNA processing. Most notably, the large size of the papaya embryo sac suggests that it could be a cytological alternative to Arabidopsis thaliana for study. Significant variation in embryo sac size was observed between the varieties under study, suggesting wide differences in the genetic regulation of anatomical features.
External link to the item10.1101/2021.03.11.434975
- Agronomía