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LEAFY COTYLEDONs (LECs): master regulators in plant embryo development

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In plants, somatic embryo development is regulated by a complex group or network of transcription factors (TFs). The LEAFY COTYLEDON (LEC) TFs are significant key regulators that promote the initiation of somatic embryo formation and biological processes of the embryo maturation phase. The LEC gene has been implicated to act as unique regulators in plant embryogenesis, growth and development via diverse signaling pathways. In the present review, we summarize the current advances in our understanding of the LEC TFs in plant biology including embryogenesis. Recent discoveries would be advantageous to unlock the mysteries of LEC TF genes of different molecular mechanisms in plant cells.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


ABI3 :




FUS3 :


AGL15 :

Agamous-Like 15


Indole acetic acid inducible 30




Plant growth regulators




Seed development


Somatic embryogenesis






Transcription factors




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The authors acknowledge the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa for providing financial support. All the authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. We apologize to all colleagues whose work has not been cited in this manuscript due to space constraints.

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Correspondence to Johannes Van Staden.

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Communicated by Konstantin V. Kiselev.

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Kumar, V., Jha, P. & Van Staden, J. LEAFY COTYLEDONs (LECs): master regulators in plant embryo development. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 140, 475–487 (2020).

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  • Embryogenesis
  • Transcription factor
  • Plant biotechnology
  • Seed development