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A functional and genetic analysis of novel signaling molecules regulating embryo surface formation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Abstract : Seed development is a crucial step in Angiosperms life cycle. The seed is composed of three distinct compartments: (1) The testa, ensuring a protective function, (2) the endosperm, which plays a key nutritive role supporting (3) the embryo, the fate of which is to become the future plant. These three tissues develop concomitantly to form a viable seed. Such developmental coordination necessitates the involvement of communication between the compartments. In this context, I have studied genes involved in the establishment of the embryonic cuticle, a hydrophobic structure that surrounds the embryo, plays an essential post-germination function in regulating water loss and is thus critical for plant survival. At the beginning of my PhD, several proteins were known to be involved in the process of cuticle establishment, some of which were expressed in the endosperm and others in the embryo, hinting at the existence of molecular communication between the two tissues. On the endosperm side, the transcription factor ZOU controls the expression of ALE1, a subtilisin-like serine protease. On the embryo side, two receptors, GSO1 and GSO2, are involved. Genetic interaction between the genes encoding these proteins had confirmed their involvement the same signalling pathway. The molecular identities of these proteins led us to propose the existence of one or more unidentified peptides acting as messengers between the embryo and the endosperm. My research has allowed the characterization of novel proteins involved in the process of embryonic surface formation. The principal subject of my research has been CERBERUS, a peptide produced in the endosperm, the expression of which is controlled by ZOU, and which is necessary both for the formation of an intact embryonic cuticle and the production of a previously uncharacterised structure, the embryo sheath. I have demonstrated novel roles for GSO1 and GSO2 in embryo sheath deposition. Furthermore, I have generated preliminary data suggesting that a protein involved in peptide sulfation, TPST, is involved in the GSO1 GSO2 signalling pathway. Finally, I have shown that another protein involved in posttranslational protein modification, FRIABLE1 is involved in this same pathway. My results have advanced knowledge of the molecular mechanisms controlling embryonic surface formation in Arabidopsis.
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Steven Moussu. A functional and genetic analysis of novel signaling molecules regulating embryo surface formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Vegetal Biology. Université de Lyon, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSEN067⟩. ⟨tel-01941707v2⟩

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