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. 2018 Sep;31(3):309-317.
doi: 10.1007/s00497-018-0338-1. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Seed Tissue and Nutrient Partitioning, a Case for the Nucellus

Free PMC article

Seed Tissue and Nutrient Partitioning, a Case for the Nucellus

Jing Lu et al. Plant Reprod. .
Free PMC article


Flowering plants display a large spectrum of seed architectures. The volume ratio of maternal versus zygotic seed tissues changes considerably among species and underlies different nutrient-storing strategies. Such diversity arose through the evolution of cell elimination programs that regulate the relative growth of one tissue over another to become the major storage compartment. The elimination of the nucellus maternal tissue is regulated by developmental programs that marked the origin of angiosperms and outlined the most ancient seed architectures. This review focuses on such a defining mechanism for seed evolution and discusses the role of nucellus development in seed tissues and nutrient partitioning at the light of novel discoveries on its molecular regulation.

Keywords: Endosperm; Nucellus; Ovule; Partitioning; Perisperm; Seed.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Seed architectures. Diagrammatic representation in longitudinal sections of pine (gymnosperm) (a), Arabidopsis (angiosperm, endospermic) (b), rice (angiosperm, endospermic) (c), and quinoa (angiosperm, perispermic) (d) seeds right after fertilization and at an early embryogenesis stage. The figure is not in scale. Female gametophyte, nucellus, endosperm, and embryo are highlighted in violet, orange, blue, and yellow, respectively
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Signaling pathways underlying nucellus and endosperm antagonistic development. Arrows indicate functional relationships

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