PI: Venkatesan Sundaresan, University of California, Davis
Co-PI: Scott Russell and his Grad. Student, Daniel Jones, Department of Molecular and Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
The fusion of two highly differentiated cells, the egg cell and the sperm cell, results in a totipotent zygote: a single cell with the capacity to develop into an entirely new organism. In this respect, the zygote can be considered to be the ultimate stem cell. In both plants and animals, early embryo development is dependent on maternal transcripts deposited in the egg cell before fertilization. The degradation of these maternal transcripts and the initiation of zygotic transcription take place during the Maternal to Zygotic Transition (MZT). Regulation of the MZT in plants and animals is critical to successful reproduction.
Isolated Rice Zygotes
We are studying the transcriptomes of rice zygotes to answer the following questions: When and how does the maternal to zygotic transition occur in rice.
Time Course: Fertilization and the 1st Cell Division of the Rice Zygote
We are studying the transcriptomes of rice zygotes to answer the following questions: When and how does the maternal to zygotic transition occur in rice, and what effect do parental contributions play in this process?
Rice has several characteristics that make it suitable for this project. First, rice has the shortest time from pollination to fertilization of the model plants, just 30 minutes vs. several hours in Arabidopsis or maize. This allows for the precise determination of developmental time points. Second, relatively larger size, living rice zygotes can be dissected, making analysis of specific time points possible. Moreover, the availability of genomic resources including high-quality annotation in rice facilitates large-scale genomic analysis. We are characterizing the changes in the transcriptome starting with the very first cell cycle of the plant embryo, and plan to identify the individual contributions of the maternal and paternal genomes to the zygotic transcriptome. This project should result in a first detailed analysis of a critical transition in the plant life cycle, and reveal some of the parental and zygotic factors that control the process.Go to full project page