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LEAFY COTYLEDON2 (LEC2) promotes embryogenic induction in somatic tissues of Arabidopsis, via YUCCA-mediated auxin biosynthesis

Wójcikowska, Barbara, Jaskóła, Karolina, Gąsiorek, Przemysław, Meus, Magdalena, Nowak, Katarzyna, Gaj, Małgorzata D.
Planta 2013 v.238 no.3 pp. 425-440
Arabidopsis, Yucca, auxins, biosynthesis, gene overexpression, genes, in vitro culture, somatic embryogenesis, somatic embryos, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
The LEAFY COTYLEDON2 (LEC2) transcription factor with a plant-specific B3 domain plays a central role in zygotic and somatic embryogenesis (SE). LEC2 overexpression induced in planta leads to spontaneous somatic embryo formation, but impairs the embryogenic response of explants cultured in vitro under auxin treatment. The auxin-related functions of LEC2 appear during SE induction, and the aim of the present study was to gain further insights into this phenomenon. To this end, the effect of LEC2 overexpression on the morphogenic responses of Arabidopsis explants cultured in vitro under different auxin treatments was evaluated. The expression profiles of the auxin biosynthesis genes were analysed in embryogenic cultures with respect to LEC2 activity. The results showed that LEC2 overexpression severely modifies the requirement of cultured explants for an exogenous auxin concentration at a level that is effective in SE induction and suggested an increase in the auxin content in 35S::LEC2-GR transgenic explants. The assumption of an LEC2 promoted increase in endogenous auxin in cultured explants was further supported by the expression profiling of the genes involved in auxin biosynthesis. The analysis indicated that YUCCAs and TAA1, working in the IPA-YUC auxin biosynthesis pathway, are associated with SE induction, and that the expression of three YUCCA genes (YUC1, YUC4 and YUC10) is associated with LEC2 activity. The results also suggest that the IAOx-mediated auxin biosynthesis pathway involving ATR1/MYB34 and CYP79B2 does not seem to be involved in SE induction. We conclude that de novo auxin production via the tryptophan-dependent IPA-YUC auxin biosynthesis pathway is implicated in SE induction, and that LEC2 plays a key role in this mechanism.