In flowering plants, seed development is initiated by the fusion of the maternal egg and central cells with two paternal sperm cells, leading to the formation of embryo and endosperm, respectively. The fertilization products are surrounded by the maternally derived seed coat, whose development prior to fertilization is blocked by epigenetic regulators belonging to the Polycomb Group (PcG) protein family. Here we show that fertilization of the central cell results in the production of auxin and most likely its export to the maternal tissues, which drives seed coat development by removing PcG function. We furthermore show that mutants for the MADS-box transcription factor AGL62 have an impaired transport of auxin from the endosperm to the integuments, which results in seed abortion. We propose that AGL62 regulates auxin transport from the endosperm to the integuments, leading to the removal of the PcG block on seed coat development.
Keywords: A. thaliana; Polycomb group proteins; auxin; endosperm; plant biology; plant reproduction; seed coat.