Maternal control of seed development

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2001 Oct;12(5):381-6. doi: 10.1006/scdb.2001.0267.


Maternal control of higher plant seed development is likely to involve female sporophytic as well as female gametophytic genes. While numerous female sporophytic mutants control the production of the ovule and the embryo sac true maternal effect mutations affecting embryo and endosperm development are rare in plants. A new class of female gametophytic mutants has been isolated that controls autonomous development of endosperm. Molecular analyses of these genes, known as FIS class genes, suggest that they repress downstream seed development genes by chromatin remodelling. Expression of the FIS genes in turn is modulated by parent specific expression or genomic imprinting which in turn is controlled by DNA methylation. Thus maternal control of seed development is a complex developmental event influenced by both genetic and epigenetic processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Fertilization / genetics
  • Fertilization / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Gene Silencing / physiology
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics
  • Genomic Imprinting / physiology
  • Germ Cells / physiology
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Seeds / embryology*
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Seeds / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • FIS2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • FIS1 protein, Linum usitatissimum