Posttranscriptional control over rapid development and ciliogenesis in Marsilea. Chapter uri icon


  • Marsilea vestita is a semiaquatic fern that produces its spores (meiotic products) as it undergoes a process of natural desiccation. During the period of desiccation, the spores mature, and produce large quantities of pre-mRNA, which is partially processed and stored in nuclear speckles and can remain stable during a period of extended quiescence in the dry spore. Rehydration of the spores initiates a highly coordinated developmental program, featuring nine successive mitotic division cycles that occur at precise times and in precise planes within the spore wall to produce 39 cells, 32 of which are spermatids. The spermatids then undergo de novo basal body formation, the assembly of a massive cytoskeleton, nuclear and cell elongation, and finally ciliogenesis, before being released from the spore wall. The entire developmental program requires only 11 h to reach completion, and is synchronous in a population of spores rehydrated at the same time. Rapid development in this endosporic gametophyte is controlled posttranscriptionally, where stored pre-mRNAs, many of which are intron-retaining transcripts, are unmasked, processed, and translated under tight spatial and temporal control. Here, we describe posttranscriptional mechanisms that exert temporal and spatial control over this developmental program, which culminates in the production of ?140 ciliary axonemes in each spermatozoid.

publication date

  • 2015