Morphogenesis requires the coordination of cell growth, division, and cell differentiation. Female gametogenesis in flowering plants, where a single haploid spore undergoes continuous growth and nuclear division without cytokinesis to form an eight-nucleate coenocytic embryo sac before cellularization, provides a good system to study the genetic control of such processes in multicellular organisms. Here, we report the characterization of an Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) female gametophyte mutant, slow walker2 (swa2), in which the progression of the mitotic cycles and the synchrony of female gametophyte development were impaired, causing an arrest of female gametophytes at the two-, four-, or eight-nucleate stage. Delayed pollination test showed that a portion of the mutant ovules were able to develop into functional embryo sacs and could be fertilized. SWA2 encodes a nucleolar protein homologous to yeast NUCLEOLAR COMPLEX ASSOCIATED PROTEIN1 (NOC1)/MAINTENANCE OF KILLER21 that, together with NOC2, is involved in preribosome export from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Similarly, SWA2 can physically interact with a putative Arabidopsis NOC2 homologue. SWA2 is expressed ubiquitously throughout the plant, at high levels in actively dividing tissues and gametophytes. Therefore, we conclude that SWA2 most likely plays a role in ribosome biogenesis that is essential for the coordinated mitotic progression of the female gametophyte.
Plant physiology 10/2009; 151(3):1486-97. DOI:10.1104/pp.109.142414 · 7.39 Impact Factor