BABY BOOM regulates early embryo and endosperm development

B. Chen, L. Maas, D. Figueiredo, Yu Zhong, R. de Souza dos Reis, M. Li, A. Horstman, T. Riksen-Bruinsma, W.M.J. Weemen, Hang Liu, C. Siemons, Shaojiang Chen, G.C. Angenent, K.A. Boutilier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The BABY BOOM (BBM) AINTEGUMENTA-LIKE (AIL) AP2/ERF domain transcription
factor is a major regulator of plant cell totipotency, as it induces asexual
embryo formation when ectopically expressed. Surprisingly, only limited information is available on the role of BBM during zygotic embryogenesis. Here we reexamined BBM expression and function in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) using reporter analysis and newly developed CRISPR mutants. BBM was expressed in the embryo from the zygote stage and also in the maternal (nucellus) and filial (endosperm) seed tissues. Analysis of CRISPR mutant alleles for BBM (bbm-cr) and the redundantly acting AIL gene PLETHORA2 (PLT2) (plt2-cr) uncovered individual roles for these genes in the timing of embryo progression. We also identified redundant roles for BBM and PLT2 in endosperm proliferation and cellularization and the maintenance of
zygotic embryo development. Finally, we show that ectopic BBM expression in the egg cell of Arabidopsis and the dicot crops Brassica napus and Solanum lycopersicon is sufficient to bypass the fertilization requirement for embryo development. Together these results highlight roles for BBM and PLT2 in seed development and demonstrate the utility of BBM genes for engineering asexual embryo development in dicot species.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2201761119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2022


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