Skip to main content Accessibility help

An Arabidopsis thaliana embryo arrest mutant exhibiting germination potential

  • Jessica R. Kristof (a1), Jennifer L. Coppersmith (a2), Kyung Hong (a3), Po-Pu Liu (a1), Tanja M. Homrichhausen (a1), Jing Sun (a3), Ruth C. Martin (a4) and Hiroyuki Nonogaki (a1)...


The ability to initiate radicle elongation, or germination potential, occurs in developing embryos before the completion of seed maturation. Green embryos after the walking-stick stage in developing Arabidopsis thaliana seeds germinate when excised from seeds and incubated in Murashige–Skoog (MS) medium containing 1% sucrose. Germination potential is not observed during early embryogenesis at the globular, heart and torpedo stages. Here, we describe an Arabidopsis mutant with embryos arrested at early stages of development, but still exhibiting germination potential. The mutant, termed embryo ball (eb), produced shrunken seeds containing round or irregularly shaped embryos that did not germinate. The round embryos excised from developing eb seeds were capable of growing a primary root with root hairs when incubated in media. In contrast, cotyledons were absent at the apical region of the eb embryos, although the apical region produced leaf-like structures with trichomes, indicating vegetative leaf identity. These observations suggested that morphological maturation was not essential for the induction of germination potential. The eb embryos exhibited partial desiccation tolerance that is characteristic of mature embryos at later stages of development, suggesting that cell maturation was also independent of morphological maturation. The eb mutant provides novel information on cell and tissue identity in developmental biology, as well as a useful tool to dissect the mechanisms underlying the induction of germination potential in developing seeds.


Corresponding author

*Correspondence Fax: +1 (541) 737-3479hiro.nonogaki@oregonstate.eduPresent addresses:


Hide All
Anderson, T.F. (1951) Techniques for the preservation of three-dimensional structure in preparing specimens for the electron microscope. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 13, 130134.
Baud, S., Bellec, Y., Miquel, M., Bellini, C., Caboche, M., Lepiniec, L., Faure, J.D. and Rochat, C. (2004) Gurke and pasticcino3 mutants affected in embryo development are impaired in acetyl-CoA carboxylase. EMBO Reports 5, 515520.
Bewley, J.D. and Black, M. (1994) Germinability during development. pp. 117–119 in Seeds: physiology of development and germination (2nd edition). New York, Prenum Press.
Chen, J.-G., Ullah, H., Young, J.C., Sussman, M.R. and Jones, A.M. (2001) ABP1 is required for organized cell elongation and division in Arabidopsis embryogenesis. Genes and Development 15, 902911.
Homrichhausen, T.M., Hewitt, J.R. and Nonogaki, H. (2003) Endo-β-mannanase activity is associated with the completion of embryogenesis in imbibed carrot (Daucus carota L.) seeds. Seed Science Research 13, 219227.
Jürgens, G. (2001) Apical-basal pattern formation in Arabidopsis embryogenesis. EMBO Journal 20, 36093616.
Kajiwara, T., Furutani, M., Hibara, K. and Tasaka, M. (2004) The GURKE gene encoding an acetyl-CoA carboxylase is required for partitioning the embryo apex into three subregions in Arabidopsis. Plant and Cell Physiology 45, 11221128.
Li, Z. and Thomas, T.L. (1998) PEI1, an embryo-specific zinc finger protein gene required for heart-stage embryo formation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 10, 383398.
Murashige, T. and Skoog, F. (1962) A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiologia Plantarum 15, 473497.
Ogawa, M., Hanada, A., Yamauchi, Y., Kuwahara, A., Kamiya, Y. and Yamaguchi, S. (2003) Gibberellin biosynthesis and response during Arabidopsis seed germination. Plant Cell 15, 15911604.
Raghavan, V. (2002) Induction of vivipary in Arabidopsis by silique culture: implications for seed dormancy and germination. American Journal of Botany 89, 766776.
Raz, V., Bergervoet, J.H.W. and Koornneef, M. (2001) Sequential steps for developmental arrest in Arabidopsis seeds. Development 128, 243252.
Sparkes, I.A., Brandizzi, F., Slocombe, S.P., El-Shami, M., Hawes, C. and Baker, A. (2003) An Arabidopsis pex10 null mutant is embryo lethal, implicating peroxisomes in an essential role during plant embryogenesis. Plant Physiology 133, 18091819.
Torres-Ruiz, R.A., Lohner, A. and Jürgens, G. (1996) The GURKE gene is required for normal organization of the apical region in the Arabidopsis embryo. Plant Journal 10, 10051016.
Treml, B.S., Winderl, S., Radykewicz, R., Herz, M., Schweizer, G., Hutzler, P., Glawischnig, E. and Ruiz, R.A.T. (2005) The gene ENHANCER OF PINOID controls cotyledon development in the Arabidopsis embryo. Development 132, 40634074.


An Arabidopsis thaliana embryo arrest mutant exhibiting germination potential

  • Jessica R. Kristof (a1), Jennifer L. Coppersmith (a2), Kyung Hong (a3), Po-Pu Liu (a1), Tanja M. Homrichhausen (a1), Jing Sun (a3), Ruth C. Martin (a4) and Hiroyuki Nonogaki (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed