The female gametophyte is important to facilitate sexual reproduction in
higher plants. However, not much is known about the molecular mechanisms of
its development. The team of Lin-Xiao Li from China Agricultural University
recently studied the Arabidopsis thaliana NOP10 gene (AtNOP10), and its role
in female gametophyte formation.
Analysis revealed that the AtNOP10 protein was expressed in seedling and
reproductive tissues. It also shares a high level of amino acid sequence
similarity with Saccharomyces cerevisiae NOP10 (ScNOP10).
To study its role, the team developed CRISPR-edited mutants with knocked out
AtNOP10 gene. The knock-out resulted in the interruption of mitosis of the
functional megaspore during early development. It also prevented the polar
nuclear fusion in the embryo sacs.
The AtNOP10 gene was found to influence megaspore mitosis and polar nuclear
fusion during gametophyte formation in Arabidopsis.