Deposition of a cutin apoplastic barrier separating seed maternal and zygotic tissues

BMC Plant Biol. 2019 Jul 10;19(1):304. doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-1877-9.


Background: In flowering plants, proper seed development is achieved through the constant interplay of fertilization products, embryo and endosperm, and maternal tissues. Communication between these compartments is supposed to be tightly regulated at their interfaces. Here, we characterize the deposition pattern of an apoplastic lipid barrier between the maternal inner integument and fertilization products in Arabidopsis thaliana seeds.

Results: We demonstrate that an apoplastic lipid barrier is first deposited by the ovule inner integument and undergoes de novo cutin deposition following central cell fertilization and relief of the FERTILIZATION INDEPENDENT SEED Polycomb group repressive mechanism. In addition, we show that the WIP zinc-finger TRANSPARENT TESTA 1 and the MADS-Box TRANSPARENT TESTA 16 transcription factors act maternally to promote its deposition by regulating cuticle biosynthetic pathways. Finally, mutant analyses indicate that this apoplastic barrier allows correct embryo sliding along the seed coat.

Conclusions: Our results revealed that the deposition of a cutin apoplastic barrier between seed maternal and zygotic tissues is part of the seed coat developmental program.

Keywords: Cuticle; Fertilization; Seed coat.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Endosperm / genetics
  • Endosperm / growth & development
  • Endosperm / metabolism
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism*
  • Ovule / genetics
  • Ovule / growth & development
  • Ovule / metabolism
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Membrane Lipids
  • cutin