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Expression of WUSCHEL in Coffea canephora causes ectopic morphogenesis and increases somatic embryogenesis


Cell differentiation depends on the proper and sequential expression of key genes required for morphogenesis. Several aspects of control are required for this which include: chromatin modifications, DNA methylation, correct amount of particular transcription factors, proper nuclear arrangement, etc. During the last few years the homeobox transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS) has been shown to cause dedifferentiation when expressed on somatic cells followed by a production of new stem cells that can lead to somatic embryogenesis or organogenesis. We found that expression of WUS in coffee plants can induce calli formation as well as a 400% increase somatic embryo production. The results show that transgenic expression of the transcription factor WUS can be useful to increase somatic embryogenesis in heterologous systems. However, a critical developmental stage and additional hormonal requirements are required for the induction of embryogenesis by WUS in Coffea canephora.

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We thank to Fernando Contreras for her technical help and Luis Joel Figueroa from Accesolab for the contribution of reagents for this study. Dr. Castaño is partially funded by CONACYT grant 39731-z and CONACYT grant 056001.

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Correspondence to E. Castaño.

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Arroyo-Herrera, A., Ku Gonzalez, A., Canche Moo, R. et al. Expression of WUSCHEL in Coffea canephora causes ectopic morphogenesis and increases somatic embryogenesis. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 94, 171–180 (2008).

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  • Coffea spp.
  • Homeobox
  • Somatic embryogenesis
  • Transcription factor
  • Morphogenesis