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Article|01 Feb 2020|OPEN
ZbAGL11, a class D MADS-box transcription factor of Zanthoxylum bungeanum, is involved in sporophytic apomixis
Xitong Fei1,2, Qianqian Shi1, Yichen Qi1,2, Shujie Wang1,2, Yu Lei1,2, Haichao Hu1,2, Yulin Liu1,2, Tuxi Yang1,2 & Anzhi Wei1,2,
1College of Forestry, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China
2Research Centre for Engineering and Technology of Zanthoxylum State Forestry Administration, Yangling, Xianyang 712100, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 23 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.23
Views: 238

Received: 12 Jun 2020
Revised: 26 Nov 2020
Accepted: 27 Nov 2020
Published online: 01 Feb 2020


Apomixis is a reproductive model that bypasses sexual reproduction, so it does not require the combination of paternal and maternal gametes but instead results in the production of offspring directly from maternal tissues. This reproductive mode results in the same genetic material in the mother and the offspring and has significant applications in agricultural breeding. Molecular and cytological methods were used to identify the reproductive type of Zanthoxylum bungeanum (ZB). Fluorescence detection of the amplified products of 12 pairs of polymorphic SSR primers showed consistent fluorescence signals for mother and offspring, indicating that no trait separation occurred during reproduction. In addition, the cytological observation results showed differentiation of ZB embryos (2n) from nucellar cells (2n) to form indefinite embryonic primordia and then form adventitious embryos (2n), indicating that the apomictic type of ZB is sporophytic apomixis. The MADS-box transcription factor ZbAGL11 was highly expressed during the critical period of nucellar embryo development in ZB. Unpollinated ZbAGL11-OE Arabidopsis produced fertile offspring and exhibited an apomictic phenotype. The overexpression of ZbAGL11 increased the callus induction rate of ZB tissue. In addition, the results of the yeast two-hybrid experiment showed that ZbAGL11 could interact with the ZbCYP450 and ZbCAD11 proteins. Our results demonstrate that ZbAGL11 can cause developmental disorders of Arabidopsis flower organs and result in apomixis-like phenotypes.