Requirement of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases for gametogenesis and embryo development in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2005 Dec;44(5):866-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02580.x.


Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) are required for translation in three different compartments of the plant cell: chloroplasts, mitochondria and the cytosol. Elimination of this basal function should result in lethality early in development. Phenotypes of individual mutants may vary considerably, depending on patterns of gene expression, functional redundancy, allele strength and protein localization. We describe here a reverse genetic screen of 50 insertion mutants disrupted in 21 of the 45 predicted AARSs in Arabidopsis. Our initial goal was to find additional EMB genes with a loss-of-function phenotype in the seed. Several different classes of knockouts were discovered, with defects in both gametogenesis and seed development. Three major trends were observed. Disruption of translation in chloroplasts often results in seed abortion at the transition stage of embryogenesis with minimal effects on gametophytes. Disruption of translation in mitochondria often results in ovule abortion before and immediately after fertilization. This early phenotype was frequently missed in prior screens for embryo-defective mutants. Knockout alleles of non-redundant cytosolic AARSs were in general not identified, consistent with the absolute requirement of cytosolic translation for development of male and female gametophytes. These results provide a framework for evaluating redundant functions of AARSs in Arabidopsis, a valuable data set of phenotypes resulting from multiple disruptions of a single basal process, and insights into which genes are required for both gametogenesis and embryo development and might therefore escape detection in screens for embryo-defective mutants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / genetics
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / embryology*
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Seeds / embryology
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / ultrastructure


  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases