Genome-wide analysis reveals gene expression and metabolic network dynamics during embryo development in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2011 May;156(1):346-56. doi: 10.1104/pp.110.171702. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


Embryogenesis is central to the life cycle of most plant species. Despite its importance, because of the difficulty associated with embryo isolation, global gene expression programs involved in plant embryogenesis, especially the early events following fertilization, are largely unknown. To address this gap, we have developed methods to isolate whole live Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) embryos as young as zygote and performed genome-wide profiling of gene expression. These studies revealed insights into patterns of gene expression relating to: maternal and paternal contributions to zygote development, chromosomal level clustering of temporal expression in embryogenesis, and embryo-specific functions. Functional analysis of some of the modulated transcription factor encoding genes from our data sets confirmed that they are critical for embryogenesis. Furthermore, we constructed stage-specific metabolic networks mapped with differentially regulated genes by combining the microarray data with the available Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes metabolic data sets. Comparative analysis of these networks revealed the network-associated structural and topological features, pathway interactions, and gene expression with reference to the metabolic activities during embryogenesis. Together, these studies have generated comprehensive gene expression data sets for embryo development in Arabidopsis and may serve as an important foundational resource for other seed plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / embryology
  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Organ Specificity
  • Seeds / embryology
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / metabolism