Global Gene Expression of Seed Coat Tissues Reveals a Potential Mechanism of Regulating Seed Size Formation in Castor Bean.Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar 14; 20(6)IJ
The physiological and molecular basis of seed size formation is complex, and the development of seed coat (derived from integument cells) might be a critical factor that determines seed size formation for many endospermic seeds. Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.), a model system of studying seed biology, has large and persistent endosperm with a hard seed coat at maturity. Here, we investigated the potential molecular mechanisms underlying seed size formation in castor bean by comparing the difference between global gene expression within developing seed coat tissues between the large-seed ZB107 and small-seed ZB306. First, we observed the cell size of seed coat and concluded that the large seed coat area of ZB107 resulted from more cell numbers (rather than cell size). Furthermore, we found that the lignin proportion of seed coat was higher in ZB306. An investigation into global gene expression of developing seed coat tissues revealed that 815 genes were up-regulated and 813 were down-regulated in ZB306 relative to ZB107. Interestingly, we found that many genes involved in regulating cell division were up-regulated in ZB107, whereas many genes involved in regulating lignin biosynthesis (including several NAC members, as well as MYB46/83 and MYB58/63) and in mediating programmed cell death (such as CysEP1 and βVPE) were up-regulated in ZB306. Furthermore, the expression patterns of the genes mentioned above indicated that the lignification of seed coat tissues was enhanced and occurred earlier in the developing seeds of ZB306. Taken together, we tentatively proposed a potential scenario for explaining the molecular mechanisms of seed coat governing seed size formation in castor bean by increasing the cell number and delaying the onset of lignification in seed coat tissues in large-seed ZB107. This study not only presents new information for possible modulation of seed coat related genes to improve castor seed yield, but also provides new insights into understanding the molecular basis of seed size formation in endospermic seeds with hard seed coat.