Intercellular communications are essential for cell proliferation and differentiation during plant embryogenesis. However, analysis of intercellular communications in living material in real time is difficult owing to the restricted accessibility of the embryo within the flower. We established a live-embryo imaging system to visualize cell division and cell fate specification in Arabidopsis thaliana from zygote division in real time. We generated a cell-division lineage tree for early embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. Lineage analysis showed that both the direction and time course of cell division between sister cells differed along the apical-basal or radial axes. Using the Arabidopsis kpl mutant, in which single-fertilization events are frequent, we showed that endosperm development is not required for pattern formation during early embryogenesis. Optical manipulation demonstrated that damage to the embryo initial cell induces cell fate conversion of the suspensor cell to compensate for the disrupted embryo initial cell even after cell fate is specified.
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