Cellular dynamics of double fertilization and early embryogenesis in flowering plants

Ji Min Shin, Ling Yuan, Masaru Ohme-Takagi, Tomokazu Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Flowering plants (angiosperms) perform a unique double fertilization in which two sperm cells fuse with two female gamete cells in the embryo sac to develop a seed. Furthermore, during land plant evolution, the mode of sexual reproduction has been modified dramatically from motile sperm in the early-diverging land plants, such as mosses and ferns as well as some gymnosperms (Ginkgo and cycads) to nonmotile sperm that are delivered to female gametes by the pollen tube in flowering plants. Recent studies have revealed the cellular dynamics and molecular mechanisms for the complex series of double fertilization processes and elucidated differences and similarities between animals and plants. Here, together with a brief comparison with animals, we review the current understanding of flowering plant zygote dynamics, covering from gamete nuclear migration, karyogamy, and polyspermy block, to zygotic genome activation as well as asymmetrical division of the zygote. Further analyses of the detailed molecular and cellular mechanisms of flowering plant fertilization should shed light on the evolution of the unique sexual reproduction of flowering plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-651
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • asymmetric zygotic division
  • cytoskeleton
  • double fertilization
  • flowering plants
  • gamete nuclear migration
  • karyogamy
  • polyspermy block
  • zygotic genome activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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