Yuan-Le Xiao, Gui-Sheng Li

Differential expression and co-localization of transcriptional factors during callus transition to differentiation for shoot organogenesis in the water fern Ceratopteris richardii

  • Plant Science

Abstract Background and Aims In flowering plants, regeneration can be achieved by a variety of approaches, and different sets of transcriptional factors are involved in these processes. However, regeneration in taxa other than flowering plants is still a mystery. Ceratopteris richardii is a representative fern capable of both direct and indirect organogenesis, and this study aims to investigate the genetics underlying the transition from callus proliferation to differentiation. Methods Morphological and histological analyses were used to determine the type of regeneration involved. RNAseq and differential gene expression were used to investigate how the callus switches from proliferation to differentiation. Phylogenetic analysis and RNA in situ hybridization were used to understand whether transcriptional factors are involved in this transition. Key Results The callus formed on nascent leaves and subsequently developed the shoot pro-meristem and shoot meristem, thus completing indirect de novo shoot organogenesis in C. richardii. Genes were differentially expressed during the callus transition from proliferation to differentiation, indicating a role for photosynthesis, stimulus response and transmembrane signaling in this transition and the involvement of almost all cell layers that make up the callus. Transcriptional factors were either downregulated or upregulated, which were generally in many-to-many orthology with genes known to be involved in callus development in flowering plants, suggesting that the genetics of fern callus development are both conserved and divergent. Among them, an STM-like, a PLT-like and an ethylene- and salt-inducible ERF gene3-like gene were simultaneously expressed in the vasculature but not in the other parts of the callus, indicating that the vasculature played a role in the callus transition from proliferation to differentiation. Conclusions Indirect de novo shoot organogenesis could occur in ferns, and the callus transition from proliferation to differentiation required physiological changes, differential expression of transcriptional factors and involvement of the vasculature.

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