Plant Somatic Embryogenesis: Modulatory Role of Oxidative Stress


Plant somatic embryogenesis (PSE) provides several advantages when compared to other in vitro propagation methods of tissue culture. All factors affecting PSE are not known. Some prominent stress factors in tissue culture are serious injuries in explants, subcultures, unbalanced mineral composition of the culture medium and growth regulators, etc. The present review would focus on induction Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), which lies fairly downstream of the cascade of various stress processes outlined above. The central question the present authors ask is—whether ROS generation is all for toxic or there is some amount of benefit to the somatic embryogenesis. The increasing interest in the functional meaning of ROS and the antioxidant response concomitant to growth, development and cell differentiation in plants suggest a link between ROS production and morphogenetic processes of plants. The authors in this review article consider hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) as a model ROS which is omnipresent and naturally generated in a variety of normal cell types, either constitutively or in response to various stimuli. A review of the concerned literature suggests that endogenous H2O2 acts as a cellular ‘messenger’ capable of inducing gene expression and protein synthesis, thus leading to somatic embryogenesis in some plant species.

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The authors are grateful to the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq; Brasília, DF—Brazil), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG; Belo Horizonte, MG—Brazil) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES; Brasília, DF—Brazil) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Débora de Oliveira Prudente.

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Significance Statement

The cellular oxidative stress caused by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) can act as a sign on the growth, development and cell differentiation in plants. Thus, some ROS such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in suitable concentrations can act by activating specific morphogenic pathways to promote the induction of embryogenic cells.

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Prudente, D.O., de Souza, L. & Paiva, R. Plant Somatic Embryogenesis: Modulatory Role of Oxidative Stress. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 90, 483–487 (2020).

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  • Plant somatic embryogenesis
  • H2O2
  • ROS
  • Reactive oxygen species