Maternal effects of the short integument mutation on embryo development in Arabidopsis

Dev Biol. 1996 Nov 25;180(1):365-9. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.0309.


Maternal gene products deposited in an animal egg determine the polarity of embryonic axes and regulate embryonic cell-cell communication important for morphogenesis. Here we report the first maternal-effect embryo-defective mutation discovered in a plant. Recessive mutations in the SHORT INTEGUMENT (SIN1) gene in Arabidopsis were previously shown to influence ovule development and flowering time. Here we show that a sin1 mutation has a pronounced maternal effect on zygotic embryo development. A homozygous sin1 mutant embryo is normal when nursed by a sin1/+ heterozygous maternal sporophyte. Strikingly, a sin1 or a sin1/+ embryo that is nursed by a sin1 homozygous maternal sporophyte develops morphogenetic defects in the apical-basal and radial axes. The defects resemble those seen in some zygotic-effect embryonic pattern formation mutants. These results imply that in maternal cells the SIN1 gene either codes for or controls the production of a diffusible morphogen necessary for proper zygotic embryogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Mutation
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Seeds / physiology
  • Zygote / physiology


  • Plant Proteins