Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC)

, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 455–462 | Cite as

Maize miniendosperm proliferation in vitro is characterized by tracheary element formation

  • Alžbeta Blehová
  • Michaela ŠkoríkováEmail author
  • Olga Šamajová
  • Peter Kaštier
  • Ildikó Matušíková
Original Article


Maize grain is of a great economic importance worldwide. Morphometric and cytological descriptions of developing maize endosperms are available in inbred lines growing under natural conditions. Despite tremendous potential in biotechnology, similar studies focused on endosperm development in vitro are rather rare. Here we provide a comparative study on growth and development of endosperms in planta versus in vitro, considering regulation by different cytokinins during endosperm cultivation. Histochemical analyses were performed on hand-cut sections of samples stained with Sudan III. Microtubules (MTs) were immunolocalized in whole mount samples and Steedmanʼs wax sections of endosperm and miniendosperm from in vitro conditions. Our results confirmed that in vitro cultured maize endosperms proliferate and establish aleurone and starchy cells like endosperms grown in planta, however later ones undergo a distinct developmental program triggered/controlled by cytokinins. Higher mitotic activity of surface layer cells resulted in the miniendosperm proliferation, while the centrally localized parenchymatic starchy-like cells differentiated into tracheary elements (TEs). Furthermore, we report, for the first time, on the formation of numerous lobes and trichomes on pericarp cells. MT rearrangements play an important regulatory role in the differentiation of TEs. Formation of functional vascular tissue and lipid accumulation appears to be fundamental for maize miniendosperm proliferation. In contrast, the presence of maternal tissue (pericarp and nucellus) prevents miniendosperm growth and development. We assume the formation of lobes and trichomes is an adaptive response of in vitro maize endosperm to high temperatures.


Endosperm Lobe Maize Miniendosperm Tracheary elements Trichome 



This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract No. APVV-16-0051. We thank Jozef Šamaj for critical reading of the manuscript.

Author contributions

AB and IM developed concept and supervised this research. MŠ, PK conducted the experiments. AB, OŠ, IM analysed and interpreted the data. MŠ, IM and AB wrote the manuscript with contribution of all co-authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius University in BratislavaBratislavaSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Ecochemistry and RadioecologyUniversity of SS. Cyril and Methodius in TrnavaTrnavaSlovak Republic

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