How microspores transform into haploid embryos: changes associated with embryogenesis induction and microspore-derived embryogenesis

Physiol Plant. 2008 Sep;134(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2008.01113.x. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


Microspore embryogenesis is the most powerful androgenic pathway to produce haploid and doubled haploid plants. To deviate a microspore toward embryogenesis, a number of factors, different for each species, must concur at the same time and place. Once induced, the microspore undergoes numerous changes at different levels, from overall morphology to gene expression. Induction of microspore embryogenesis not only implies the expression of an embryogenic program, but also a stress-related cellular response and a repression of the gametophytic program to revert the microspore to a totipotent status. In this review, we compile the most recent advances in the understanding of the changes undergone by the induced microspore to readapt to the new developmental scenario. We devote special attention to the efforts made to uncover changes in the transcriptome of the induced microspore and microspore-derived embryo (MDE). Finally, we discuss the influence that an in vitro environment exerts over the MDE, as compared with its zygotic counterpart.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Haploidy*
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Cells
  • Plants / embryology*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Pollen / cytology
  • Pollen / embryology*
  • Pollen / genetics