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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The Physcomitrium patens egg cell expresses several distinct epigenetic components and utilizes homologues of BONOBO genes for cell specification

Sanchez-Vera, Victoria; Landberg, Katarina; Lopez-Obando, Mauricio; Thelander, Mattias; Lagercrantz, Ulf; Munoz-Viana, Rafael; Schmidt, Anja; Grossniklaus, Ueli; Sundberg, Eva


Although land plant germ cells have received much attention, knowledge about their specification is still limited. We thus identified transcripts enriched in egg cells of the bryophyte model species Physcomitrium patens, compared the results with angiosperm egg cells, and selected important candidate genes for functional analysis. We used laser-assisted microdissection to perform a cell-type-specific transcriptome analysis on egg cells for comparison with available expression profiles of vegetative tissues and male reproductive organs. We made reporter lines and knockout mutants of the two BONOBO (PbBNB) genes and studied their role in reproduction. We observed an overlap in gene activity between bryophyte and angiosperm egg cells, but also clear differences. Strikingly, several processes that are male-germline specific in Arabidopsis are active in the P. patens egg cell. Among those were the moss PbBNB genes, which control proliferation and identity of both female and male germlines. Pathways shared between male and female germlines were most likely present in the common ancestors of land plants, besides sex-specifying factors. A set of genes may also be involved in the switches between the diploid and haploid moss generations. Nonangiosperm gene networks also contribute to the specification of the P. patens egg cell.


BONOBO; bryophytes; egg cell; gametes; moss; Physcomitrium patens; transcriptome

Published in

New Phytologist
2022, Volume: 233, number: 6, pages: 2614-2628
Publisher: WILEY