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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Developmental patterning of sub-epidermal cells in the outer integument of Arabidopsis seeds

Fiume, Elisa; Coen, Olivier; Xu, Wenjia; Lepiniec, Loic; Magnani, Enrico


The seed, the reproductive unit of angiosperms, is generally protected by the seed coat. The seed coat is made of one or two integuments, each comprising two epidermal cells layers and, in some cases, extra sub-epidermal cell layers. The thickness of the seed-coat affects several aspects of seed biology such as dormancy, germination and mortality. In Arabidopsis, the inner integument displays one or two sub-epidermal cell layers that originate from periclinal cell divisions of the innermost epidermal cell layer. By contrast, the outer integument was considered to be two-cell layered. Here, we show that sub-epidermal chalazal cells grow in between the epidermal outer integument cell layers to create an incomplete three-cell layered outer integument. We found that the MADS box transcription factor TRANSPARENT TESTA 16 represses growth of the chalaza and formation of sub-epidermal outer integument cells. Finally, we demonstrate that sub-epidermal cells of the outer and inner integument respond differently to the repressive mechanism mediated by FERTILIZATION INDEPENDENT SEED Polycomb group proteins and to fertilization signals. Our data suggest that integument cell origin rather than sub-epidermal cell position underlies different responses to fertilization.

Published in

2017, Volume: 12, number: 11, article number: e0188148

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding

    Publication identifier


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