Transcriptome Dynamics of Epidermal Reprogramming during Direct Shoot Regeneration in Torenia fournieri

Hatsune Morinaka, Akihito Mamiya, Hiroaki Tamaki, Akitoshi Iwamoto, Takamasa Suzuki, Ayako Kawamura, Momoko Ikeuchi, Akira Iwase, Tetsuya Higashiyama, Keiko Sugimoto, Munetaka Sugiyama

Shoot regeneration involves reprogramming of somatic cells and de novo organization of shoot apical meristems (SAMs). In the best-studied model system of shoot regeneration using Arabidopsis, regeneration is mediated by the auxin-responsive pluripotent callus formation from pericycle or pericycle-like tissues according to the lateral root development pathway. In contrast, shoot regeneration can be induced directly from fully differentiated epidermal cells of stem explants of Torenia fournieri (Torenia), without intervening the callus mass formation in culture with cytokinin; yet, its molecular mechanisms remain unaddressed. Here, we characterized this direct shoot regeneration by cytological observation and transcriptome analyses. The results showed that the gene expression profile rapidly changes upon culture to acquire a mixed signature of multiple organs/tissues, possibly associated with epidermal reprogramming. Comparison of transcriptomes between three different callus-inducing cultures (callus induction by auxin, callus induction by wounding and protoplast culture) of Arabidopsis and the Torenia stem culture identified genes upregulated in all the four culture systems as candidates of common factors of cell reprogramming. These initial changes proceeded independently of cytokinin, followed by cytokinin-dependent, transcriptional activations of nucleolar development and cell cycle. Later, SAM regulatory genes became highly expressed, leading to SAM organization in the foci of proliferating cells in the epidermal layer. Our findings revealed three distinct phases with different transcriptomic and regulatory features during direct shoot regeneration from the epidermis in Torenia, which provides a basis for further investigation of shoot regeneration in this unique culture system.