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Controlling Apomixis: Shared Features and Distinct Characteristics of Gene Regulation

Department of Biodiversity and Plant Systematics, Centre for Organismal Studies, Heidelberg University, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Genes 2020, 11(3), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030329
Received: 3 February 2020 / Revised: 13 March 2020 / Accepted: 18 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Basis of Apomixis in Plants)
In higher plants, sexual and asexual reproduction through seeds (apomixis) have evolved as alternative strategies. As apomixis leads to the formation of clonal offspring, its great potential for agricultural applications has long been recognized. However, the genetic basis and the molecular control underlying apomixis and its evolutionary origin are to date not fully understood. Both in sexual and apomictic plants, reproduction is tightly controlled by versatile mechanisms regulating gene expression, translation, and protein abundance and activity. Increasing evidence suggests that interrelated pathways including epigenetic regulation, cell-cycle control, hormonal pathways, and signal transduction processes are relevant for apomixis. Additional molecular mechanisms are being identified that involve the activity of DNA- and RNA-binding proteins, such as RNA helicases which are increasingly recognized as important regulators of reproduction. Together with other factors including non-coding RNAs, their association with ribosomes is likely to be relevant for the formation and specification of the apomictic reproductive lineage. Subsequent seed formation appears to involve an interplay of transcriptional activation and repression of developmental programs by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. In this review, insights into the genetic basis and molecular control of apomixis are presented, also taking into account potential relations to environmental stress, and considering aspects of evolution. View Full-Text
Keywords: apomixis; evolution; germline; gene regulation; sporogenesis; plant reproduction; ribosome; RNA helicase; sexual development; stress response apomixis; evolution; germline; gene regulation; sporogenesis; plant reproduction; ribosome; RNA helicase; sexual development; stress response
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schmidt, A. Controlling Apomixis: Shared Features and Distinct Characteristics of Gene Regulation. Genes 2020, 11, 329. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030329

AMA Style

Schmidt A. Controlling Apomixis: Shared Features and Distinct Characteristics of Gene Regulation. Genes. 2020; 11(3):329. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030329

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schmidt, Anja. 2020. "Controlling Apomixis: Shared Features and Distinct Characteristics of Gene Regulation" Genes 11, no. 3: 329. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030329

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