The Effects of Sugars and Ethylene on Apospory and Regeneration in Ceratopteris richardii


In land plants, two distinct generations, gametophyte and sporophyte, alternate to complete the life cycle. Sporophytes undergo meiosis to produce spores, from which gametophytes develop. Gametophytes produce gametes, which participate in fertilization to produce the zygote, the first cell of the sporophyte generation. In addition to this sexual reproduction pathway, some fern species can undergo apospory or apogamy, processes that bypass meiosis or fertilization, respectively, to alternate between the two generations without changing the chromosome number. Apospory is inducible in the laboratory in various fern species simply by altering the sugar level in the media. In sporophytes induced to undergo apospory, sporophyte regeneration is also observed. The ratio of aposporous gametophytes to regenerated sporophytes varies, in a manner consistent with being dependent on sugar level. Whereas the sugar signaling pathway is yet to be elucidated in lower plants, in angiosperms it has been shown to play a regulatory role in controlling essential processes including flowering and embryo development, which give rise to the gametophyte and the next sporophyte generation, respectively. Here, we present evidence for the role of different sugar levels on the balance of apospory and regeneration in the fern Ceratopteris richardii. The demonstration of crosstalk between sugar signaling and the hormone ethylene signaling in angiosperms prompted us to test the effects of this hormone in combination with sugar on apospory vs. regeneration. These results provide insight into how a group of redifferentiating cells determines which generation to become and lay the groundwork for further analysis of this asexual pathway.

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L. Bui, A. Hurst, E. Irish and C. Cheng, "The Effects of Sugars and Ethylene on Apospory and Regeneration in Ceratopteris richardii," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 7, 2012, pp. 953-961. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2012.37113.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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