Journal of Chemical Biology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 177–190 | Cite as

Molecular aspects of somatic-to-embryogenic transition in plants

  • Omid KaramiEmail author
  • Behzad Aghavaisi
  • Aghil Mahmoudi Pour


Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is a model system for understanding the physiological, biochemical, and molecular biological events occurring during plant embryo development. Plant somatic cells have the ability to undergo sustained divisions and give rise to an entire organism. This remarkable feature is called plant cell totipotency. SE is a notable illustration of plant totipotency and involves reprogramming of development in somatic cells toward the embryogenic pathway. Plant growth regularities, especially auxins, are key components as their exogenous application recapitulates the embryogenic potential of the mitotically quiescent somatic cells. It has been observed that there are genetic and also physiological factors that trigger in vitro embryogenesis in various types of plant somatic cells. Analysis of the proteome and transcriptome has led to the identification and characterization of certain genes involved in SE. Most of these genes, however, are upregulated only in the late developmental stages, suggesting that they do not play a direct role in the vegetative-to-embryogenic transition. However, the molecular bases of those triggering factors and the genetic and biochemical mechanisms leading to in vitro embryogenesis are still unknown. Here, we describe the plant factors that participate in the vegetative-to-embryogenic transition and discuss their possible roles in this process.


Somatic embryogenesis Embryogenesis cell Gene 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omid Karami
    • 1
    Email author
  • Behzad Aghavaisi
    • 2
  • Aghil Mahmoudi Pour
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyBu-Ali Sina UniversityHamedanIran
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyBu-Ali Sina UniversityHamedanIran
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureBu-Ali Sina UniversityHamedanIran

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