Gene expression profiling of M. truncatula transcription factors identifies putative regulators of grain legume seed filling
Verdier J, Kakar K, Gallardo K, Le Signor C, Aubert G, Schlereth A, Town CD, Udvardi MK, Thompson RD
Legume seeds represent a major source of proteins for human and livestock diets. The model legume Medicago truncatula is characterized by a process of seed development very similar to that of other legumes, involving the interplay of sets of transcription factors (TFs). Here, we report the first expression profiling of over 700 M. truncatula genes encoding putative TFs throughout seven stages of seed development, obtained using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. A total of 169 TFs were selected which were expressed at late embryogenesis, seed filling or desiccation. The site of expression within the seed was examined for 41 highly expressed transcription factors out of the 169. To identify possible target genes for these TFs, the data were combined with a microarray-derived transcriptome dataset. This study identified 17 TFs preferentially expressed in individual seed tissues and 135 corresponding co-expressed genes, including possible targets. Certain of the TFs co-expressed with storage protein mRNAs correspond to those already known to regulate seed storage protein synthesis in Arabidopsis, whereas the timing of expression of others may be more specifically related to the delayed expression of the legumin-class storage proteins observed in legumes.