While superficially simple, endosperm development is a complex, dynamic process. Cereal endosperms contain three major cell types: starchy endosperm, transfer cells and aleurone. The localized accumulation of the END1 transcript in the syncitial endosperm suggests that signals from the maternal placental tissue specify transfer cell type early. Aleurone fate is plastic and requires the continual input of positional cues to maintain cell identity. Starchy endosperm appears to be the default cell type. Mutant patterns suggest that a regulatory hierarchy integrates endosperm development. Requirements for gametic imprinting, maternal : paternal genome ratios and putative chromatin modeling factors indicate the importance of genomic control.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.