Megagametogenesis in Arabidopsis wild type and the Gf mutant
The female gametophyte is an essential structure for angiosperm reproduction that mediates a host of reproductive functions and, following fertilization, gives rise to most of the seed. Here, we describe a rapid method to analyze Arabidopsis female gametophyte structure using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). We present a comprehensive description of megagametogenesis in wild-type Arabidopsis. Based on our observations, we divided Arabidopsis megagametogenesis into eight morphologically distinct stages. We show that synergid cell degeneration is triggered by pollination, that dramatic nuclear migrations take place during the four-nucleate stage, and that megagametogenesis within a pistil is fairly synchronous. Finally, we present a phenotypic analysis of the previously reported Gf mutant (Redei 1965) and show that it affects an early step of megagametogenesis.
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