The isolation of genes associated with apomixis would improve understanding of the molecular mechanism of this mode of reproduction in plants as well as open the possibility of transfer of apomixis to sexual plants, enabling cloning of crops through seeds. Brachiaria brizantha is a highly apomictic grass species with 274 tetraploid apomicts accessions and only one diploid sexual. In this study we have compared gene expression in ovaries at megasporogenesis and megagametogenesis of sexual and apomictic accessions of B. brizantha by differential display (DD-PCR), with 60 primer combinations. Specificity of 65 cloned fragments, checked by reverse northern blot analysis, showed that 11 clones were differentially expressed, 6 in apomictic ovaries, 2 in sexual and 3 in apomictic and sexual, but at different stages. Of the 6 sequences isolated that were preferentially expressed in the apomictic accession: one sequence was from ovaries at megasporogenesis stage; three were from megagametogenesis stage; two were from both stages. Of the two sequences isolated from the sexual accessions, one showed expression in ovaries at megagametogenesis, while the other sequence was shown to be specific to both stages. Three sequences were from megasporogenesis stage in apomicts but were also detected at megagametogenesis in sexual plants. Sequence analysis showed that 5 of the 11 clones had no apparent homologues in the protein database. Some of the clones identified as apomictic-specific shared homology with known genes enabling their functional annotation. The relationships of these functions to the generation of the apomictic trait are discussed.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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