Ribonuclease J is required for chloroplast and embryo development in Arabidopsis

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Chloroplasts perform many essential metabolic functions and their proper development is critically important in embryogenesis. However, little is known about how chloroplasts function in embryogenesis and more relevant components need to be characterized. In this study, we show that Arabidopsis Ribonuclease J (RNase J) is required for chloroplast and embryo development. Mutation of AtRNJ led to albino ovules containing aborted embryos; the morphological development of rnj embryos was disturbed after the globular stage. Observation of ultrastructures indicated that these aborted embryos may result from impaired chloroplast development. Furthermore, by analyzing the molecular markers of cell fate decisions (STM, FIL, ML1, SCR, and WOX5) in rnj embryos, we found that this impairment of chloroplast development may lead to aberrant embryo patterning along the apical-basal axis, indicating that AtRNJ is important in initiating and maintaining the organization of shoot apical meristems (SAMs), cotyledons, and hypocotyls. Moreover, the transport and response of auxin in rnj embryos was found to be disrupted, suggesting that AtRNJ may be involved in auxin-mediated pathways during embryogenesis. Therefore, we speculate that RNJ plays a vital role in embryo morphogenesis and apical-basal pattern formation by regulating chloroplast development.

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