AGAMOUS-like15 promotes somatic embryogenesis in arabidopsis and soybean in part by the control of ethylene biosynthesis and response

Qiaolin Zheng, Yumei Zheng, Sharyn E. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Many of the regulatory processes occurring during plant embryogenesis are still unknown. Relatively few cells are involved, and they are embedded within maternal tissues, making this developmental phase difficult to study. Somatic embryogenesis is a more accessible system, and many important regulatory genes appear to function similar to zygotic development, making somatic embryogenesis a valuable model for the study of zygotic processes. To better understand the role of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) MADS factor AGAMOUS-Like15 (AGL15) in the promotion of somatic embryogenesis, direct target genes were identified by chromatin immunoprecipitation-tiling arrays and expression arrays. One potential directly up-regulated target was At5g61590, which encodes a member of the ethylene response factor subfamily B-3 of APETALA2/ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR transcription factors and is related to Medicago truncatula SOMATIC EMBRYO-RELATED FACTOR1 (MtSERF1), which has been shown to be required for somatic embryogenesis in M. truncatula. Here, we report confirmation that At5g61590 is a directly expressed target of AGL15 and that At5g61590 is essential for AGL15's promotion of somatic embryogenesis. Because At5g61590 is a member of the ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR family, effects of ethylene on somatic embryogenesis were investigated. Precursors to ethylene stimulate somatic embryogenesis, whereas inhibitors of ethylene synthesis or perception reduce somatic embryogenesis. To extend findings to a crop plant, we investigated the effects of ethylene on somatic embryogenesis in soybean (Glycine max). Furthermore, we found that a potential ortholog of AGL15 in soybean (GmAGL15) upregulates ethylene biosynthesis and response, including direct regulation of soybean orthologs of At5g61590/MtSERF1 named here GmSERF1 and GmSERF2, in concordance with the M. truncatula nomenclature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2113-2127
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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