An Arabidopsis AT-hook motif nuclear protein mediates somatic embryogenesis and coinciding genome duplication

Omid Karami*, Arezoo Rahimi, Patrick Mak, Anneke Horstman, Kim Boutilier, Monique Compier, Bert van der Zaal, Remko Offringa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant somatic cells can be reprogrammed into totipotent embryonic cells that are able to form differentiated embryos in a process called somatic embryogenesis (SE), by hormone treatment or through overexpression of certain transcription factor genes, such as BABY BOOM (BBM). Here we show that overexpression of the AT-HOOK MOTIF CONTAINING NUCLEAR LOCALIZED 15 (AHL15) gene induces formation of somatic embryos on Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings in the absence of hormone treatment. During zygotic embryogenesis, AHL15 expression starts early in embryo development, and AH15 and other AHL genes are required for proper embryo patterning and development beyond the globular stage. Moreover, AHL15 and several of its homologs are upregulated and required for SE induction upon hormone treatment, and they are required for efficient BBM-induced SE as downstream targets of BBM. A significant number of plants derived from AHL15 overexpression-induced somatic embryos are polyploid. Polyploidisation occurs by endomitosis specifically during the initiation of SE, and is caused by strong heterochromatin decondensation induced by AHL15 overexpression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2508
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2021

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