Endosperm pp 45-56 | Cite as

Aleurone Cell Development

  • Philip W. BecraftEmail author
Part of the Plant Cell Monographs book series (CELLMONO, volume 8)


The periphery of the endosperm of many plant species forms an epidermis-like layer called the aleurone. During germination, the aleurone performs an important digestive function, secreting hydrolases to break down the starch and proteins stored in the starchy endosperm cells. Several features of cereal aleurone cells make them an attractive system for studying fundamental questions of cell fate and differentiation. The system is conceptually simple, with a single fate choice between starchy endosperm or aleurone cell types. The surface location makes the cells accessible for study, and they can be readily isolated by peeling from developing grains. Because of these experimental advantages and its importance to crop utilization, aleurone development has been most intensively studied in cereals. This chapter describes a picture of aleurone cell fate specification and development as a dynamic system displaying unique modifications to the cell cycle and cytoskeletal arrays, and surprising plasticity in cell fate decisions.


Endosperm Development Endosperm Cell Aleurone Layer Aleurone Cell Starchy Endosperm 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Genetics, Development & Cell Biology/AgronomyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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