The (r)evolution of gene regulatory networks controlling Arabidopsis plant reproduction : a two-decade history
Pajoro, Alice; Biewers, Sandra; Dougali, Evangelia; Valentim, Felipe Leal; Mendes, Marta Adelina; Porri, Aimone; Coupland, George; Van de Peer, Yves; Van Dijk, Aalt D. J.; Colombo, Lucia; Davies, Brendan; Angenent, Gerco C.
Successful plant reproduction relies on the perfect orchestration of singular processes that culminate in the product
of reproduction: the seed. The floral transition, floral organ development, and fertilization are well-studied processes
and the genetic regulation of the various steps is being increasingly unveiled. Initially, based predominantly
on genetic studies, the regulatory pathways were considered to be linear, but recent genome-wide analyses, using
high-throughput technologies, have begun to reveal a different scenario. Complex gene regulatory networks underlie
these processes, including transcription factors, microRNAs, movable factors, hormones, and chromatin-modifying
proteins. Here we review recent progress in understanding the networks that control the major steps in plant reproduction,
showing how new advances in experimental and computational technologies have been instrumental. As
these recent discoveries were obtained using the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, we will restrict this review to
regulatory networks in this important model species. However, more fragmentary information obtained from other
species reveals that both the developmental processes and the underlying regulatory networks are largely conserved,
making this review also of interest to those studying other plant species.