In vitro culture of Arabidopsis embryos within their ovules

Plant J. 2004 Dec;40(5):835-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02248.x.


Embryogenesis of flowering plants establishes a basic body plan with apical-basal, radial and bilateral patterns from the single-celled zygote. Arabidopsis embryogenesis exhibits a nearly invariant cell division pattern and therefore is an ideal system for studies of early plant development. However, plant embryos are difficult to access for experimental manipulation, as they develop deeply inside maternal tissues. Here we present a method for the culture of zygotic Arabidopsis embryos in vitro. The technique omits excision of the embryo by culturing the entire ovule, thus greatly facilitating the time and effort involved. It enables external manipulation of embryo development and culture from the earliest developmental stages up to maturity. Administration of various chemical treatments as well as the use of different molecular markers is demonstrated together with standard techniques for visualizing gene expression and protein localization in in vitro cultivated embryos. The presented set of techniques allows for so far unavailable molecular physiology approaches in the study of early plant development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / embryology*
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Brefeldin A / pharmacology
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / pharmacology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Dinitrobenzenes / pharmacology
  • Germination
  • Monensin / pharmacology
  • Seeds / drug effects
  • Seeds / growth & development*
  • Seeds / ultrastructure
  • Sulfanilamides / pharmacology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • Thiazolidines


  • Biomarkers
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Dinitrobenzenes
  • Sulfanilamides
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidines
  • Brefeldin A
  • oryzalin
  • Monensin
  • latrunculin B