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Central role of the LEAFY COTYLEDON1 transcription factor in seed development

Jo, Leonardo, Pelletier, Julie M., Harada, John J.
Journal of integrative plant biology 2019 v.61 no.5 pp. 564-580
Angiospermae, abscisic acid, embryogenesis, endosperm, epigenetics, genes, gibberellic acid, hormones, morphogenesis, photosynthesis, seed coat, seed development, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
Seed development is a complex period of the flowering plant life cycle. After fertilization, the three main regions of the seed, embryo, endosperm and seed coat, undergo a series of developmental processes that result in the production of a mature seed that is developmentally arrested, desiccated, and metabolically quiescent. These processes are highly coordinated, both temporally and spatially, to ensure the proper growth and development of the seed. The transcription factor, LEAFY COTYLEDON1 (LEC1), is a central regulator that controls several aspects of embryo and endosperm development, including embryo morphogenesis, photosynthesis, and storage reserve accumulation. Thus, LEC1 regulates distinct sets of genes at different stages of seed development. Despite its critical importance for seed development, an understanding of the mechanisms underlying LEC1's multifunctionality is only beginning to be obtained. Recent studies describe the roles of specific transcription factors and the hormones, gibberellic acid and abscisic acid, in controlling the activity and transcriptional specificity of LEC1 across seed development. Moreover, studies indicate that LEC1 acts as a pioneer transcription factor to promote epigenetic reprogramming during embryogenesis. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms that enable LEC1 to serve as a central regulator of seed development.