Cell fusion is a pivotal process in fertilization and multinucleate cell formation. A plant cell is ubiquitously surrounded by hard cell wall, and very few cell fusions have been observed except for gamete fusions. We recently reported that the fertilized central cell (the endosperm) absorbs the persistent synergid, a highly differentiated cell necessary for pollen tube attraction. The synergid–endosperm fusion (SE fusion) appears to eliminate the persistent synergid from fertilized ovule in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we analyzed the effects of various inhibitors on SE fusion by an in vitro-culture system. Different from other cell fusions, neither disruption of actin polymerization nor protein secretion impaired SE fusion. However, transcriptional and translational inhibitors decreased the SE fusion success rate and also inhibited endosperm division. Failures of SE fusion and endosperm nuclear proliferation were also induced by roscovitine, an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK). These data indicate unique aspects of SE fusion such as independence of filamentous actin support and the importance of CDK-mediated mitotic control.

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