A MAPKK kinase gene regulates extra-embryonic cell fate in Arabidopsis

Cell. 2004 Jan 9;116(1):109-19. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)01067-5.


The Arabidopsis zygote divides asymmetrically into an embryonic apical cell and a basal cell with mostly extra-embryonic fate. This fundamental asymmetry sets the stage for further embryonic development, but the events mediating it are poorly understood. We have identified a MAPKK kinase gene, named YODA, that promotes extra-embryonic cell fates in the basal lineage. In loss-of-function mutants, the zygote does not elongate properly, and the cells of the basal lineage are eventually incorporated into the embryo instead of differentiating the extra-embryonic suspensor. Gain-of-function alleles cause exaggerated growth of the suspensor and can suppress embryonic development to a degree where no recognizable proembryo is formed. Our results imply that a MAP kinase cascade acts as a molecular switch promoting extra-embryonic fate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / embryology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Base Sequence / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • DNA, Complementary / analysis
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Seeds / embryology*
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • YODA protein, Arabidopsis

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY357947
  • GENBANK/AY357948
  • GENBANK/AY357949