A two-way molecular dialogue between embryo and endosperm is required for seed development

Science. 2020 Jan 24;367(6476):431-435. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz4131.


The plant embryonic cuticle is a hydrophobic barrier deposited de novo by the embryo during seed development. At germination, it protects the seedling from water loss and is, thus, critical for survival. Embryonic cuticle formation is controlled by a signaling pathway involving the ABNORMAL LEAF SHAPE1 subtilase and the two GASSHO receptor-like kinases. We show that a sulfated peptide, TWISTED SEED1 (TWS1), acts as a GASSHO ligand. Cuticle surveillance depends on the action of the subtilase, which, unlike the TWS1 precursor and the GASSHO receptors, is not produced in the embryo but in the neighboring endosperm. Subtilase-mediated processing of the embryo-derived TWS1 precursor releases the active peptide, triggering GASSHO-dependent cuticle reinforcement in the embryo. Thus, a bidirectional molecular dialogue between embryo and endosperm safeguards cuticle integrity before germination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Endosperm / cytology
  • Endosperm / metabolism
  • Endosperm / physiology*
  • Germination*
  • Ligands
  • Nicotiana / growth & development
  • Nicotiana / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Seeds / cytology
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Seeds / physiology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Serine Endopeptidases