University of Cambridge > > Genetics Seminar Series > Cell-Cell Communication during Fertilization in Arabidopsis: a Surprising Link to Disease Resistance

Cell-Cell Communication during Fertilization in Arabidopsis: a Surprising Link to Disease Resistance

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Research in our laboratory focuses on the developmental genetics of plant reproduction. Our studies have shown that both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in plant reproduction. In this seminar I will focus on cell-cell interactions during double fertilization. We have isolated a female gametophytic mutant, feronia, which disrupts double fertilization: in feronia mutant embryo sacs the pollen tubes, even if wild-type, are unable to release the sperm cells to effect fertilization (Huck et al., 2003, Development 130: 2149). This phenotype suggests that the female gametophyte plays a crucial role in pollen tube reception and, thus, controls the behaviour of the male gametophyte. The feronia mutant defines novel signalling processes between the male and female gametophytes in the process of double fertilization FERONIA was shown to encode a receptor-like kinase of a plant-specific subfamily (Escobar-Restrepo et al., 2007, Science 317: 656). Interestingly, some interspecific crosses result in phenotypes that are very similar to those observed in the feronia mutant. I will report on the molecular and biochemical characterization of FERONIA and on our search for additional components of this signal transduction process using genetic and biochemical approaches. Our recent attempts to identify novel components of the FERONIA signal transduction pathway have identified surprising links to disease resistance in plants. The evolutionary implications of these findings will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar Series series.

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