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Review article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Molecular Network for Regulation of Ovule Number in Plants

Qadir, Muslim; Wang, Xinfa; Shah, Syed Rehmat Ullah; Shah, Syed rehmat ullah; Zhou, Xue-Rong; Shi, Jiaqin; Wang, Hanzhong


In seed-bearing plants, the ovule (“small egg”) is the organ within the gynoecium that develops into a seed after fertilization. The gynoecium located in the inner compartment of the flower turns into a fruit. The number of ovules in the ovary determines the upper limit or the potential of seed number per fruit in plants, greatly affecting the final seed yield. Ovule number is an important adaptive characteristic for plant evolution and an agronomic trait for crop improvement. Therefore, understanding the mechanism and pathways of ovule number regulation becomes a significant research aspect in plant science. This review summarizes the ovule number regulators and their regulatory mechanisms and pathways. Specially, an integrated molecular network for ovule number regulation is constructed, in which phytohormones played a central role, followed by transcription factors, enzymes, other protein and micro-RNA. Of them, AUX, BR and CK are positive regulator of ovule number, whereas GA acts negatively on it. Interestingly, many ovule number regulators have conserved functions across several plant taxa, which should be the targets of genetic improvement via breeding or gene editing. Many ovule number regulators identified to date are involved in the diverse biological process, such as ovule primordia formation, ovule initiation, patterning, and morphogenesis. The relations between ovule number and related characteristics/traits especially of gynoecium/fruit size, ovule fertility, and final seed number, as well as upcoming research questions, are also discussed. In summary, this review provides a general overview of the present finding in ovule number regulation, which represents a more comprehensive and in-depth cognition on it.


ovule number genes; molecular network; auxin; cytokinins; brassinosteroids; gibberellin; transcription factors; micro-RNA

Published in

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
2021, Volume: 22, number: 23, article number: 12965

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Plant Biotechnology

    Publication identifier


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