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    Extensive modulation of numerous ARF transcripts in the embryogenic culture of Arabidopsis indicates a substantial role of auxin signaling in the mechanism of somatic embryogenesis induction. Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is induced by auxin in plants and auxin signaling is considered to play a key role in the molecular mechanism that controls the embryogenic transition of plant somatic cells. Accordingly, the expression of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR (ARF) genes in embryogenic culture of Arabidopsis was analyzed. The study revealed that 14 of the 22 ARFs were transcribed during SE in Arabidopsis. RT-qPCR analysis indicated that the expression of six ARFs (ARF5, ARF6, ARF8, ARF10, ARF16, and ARF17) was significantly up-regulated, whereas five other genes (ARF1, ARF2, ARF3, ARF11, and ARF18) were substantially down-regulated in the SE-induced explants. The activity of ARFs during SE was also monitored with GFP reporter lines and the ARFs that were expressed in areas of the explants engaged in SE induction were detected. A functional test of ARFs transcribed during SE was performed and the embryogenic potential of the arf mutants and overexpressor lines was evaluated. ARFs with a significantly modulated expression during SE coupled with an impaired embryogenic response of the relevant mutant and/or overexpressor line, including ARF1, ARF2, ARF3, ARF5, ARF6, ARF8, and ARF11 were indicated as possibly being involved in SE induction. The study provides evidence that embryogenic induction strongly depends on ARFs, which are key regulators of the auxin signaling. Some clues on the possible functions of the candidate ARFs, especially ARF5, in the mechanism of embryogenic transition are discussed. The results provide guidelines for further research on the auxin-related functional genomics of SE and the developmental plasticity of somatic cells.


    Barbara Wójcikowska, Małgorzata D Gaj. Expression profiling of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR genes during somatic embryogenesis induction in Arabidopsis. Plant cell reports. 2017 Jun;36(6):843-858

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    PMID: 28255787

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