Pollen dispersion, pollen viability and pistil receptivity in Leymus chinensis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Leymus chinensis is an economically and ecologically important grass that is widely distributed across eastern areas of the Eurasian steppe. A major problem facing its propagation by man is its low sexual reproductivity. The causes of low fecundity are uncertain, largely because many aspects of the reproductive biology of this species remained unknown or incomplete. This study aims to address some of these issues. METHODS:Pollen dispersion, pollen viability, pollen longevity and pistil receptivity were studied in a representative, natural population of L. chinensis growing in Inner Mongolia. KEY RESULTS:Flowering of L. chinensis occurred at the end of June and lasted for 5 d. Pollination peaked between 1600 h and 1700 h, and about 56.1 % of the total pollen grains were released at this time. Pollen density was highest towards the middle of flowering spikes and lowest at the bottom over the 5 d measurement period. Pollen viability (62.4 %) assessed using TTC was more accurate than using IKI (85.6 %); 50 % of pollen arriving on stigmas germinated. Pollen remained viable for only 3 h and the pollen : ovule ratio was 79 333 : 1. Pistil receptivity lasted for only 3 h and, overall, 86.7 % of pistils were pollinated. Within the spike, the relative fecundity of different positions was middle > lower > upper throughout the period of pollination; daily variation of fecundity was similar to that of the pollen flow. The spikes that opened on the day of highest pollen density exhibited the highest fecundity (36.0 %). No seeds were produced by self-pollination. CONCLUSIONS:The data suggest that low pollen viability, short pollen longevity and short pistil receptivity all appear to contribute to the low seed production typical of this important forage crop.
Project description:Pollination is the crucial initial step that brings together the male and female gametophytes, and occurs at the surface of the stigmatic papilla cell in <i>Arabidopsis thaliana</i>. After pollen recognition, pollen hydration is initiated as a second critical step to activate desiccated mature pollen grains for germination, and thus water transport from pistil to pollen is essential for this process. In this study, we report a novel aquaporin-mediated water transport process in the papilla cell as a control mechanism for pollen hydration. Coupled with a time-series imaging analysis of pollination and a reverse genetic analysis using T-DNA insertion <i>Arabidopsis</i> mutants, we found that two aquaporins, the ER-bound SIP1;1 and the plasma membrane-bound PIP1;2, are key players in water transport from papilla cell to pollen during pollination. In wild type plant, hydration speed reached its maximal value within 5 min after pollination, remained high until 10-15 min. In contrast, <i>sip1;1</i> and <i>pip1;2</i> mutants showed no rapid increase of hydration speed, but instead a moderate increase during ∼25 min after pollination. Pollen of <i>sip1;1</i> and <i>pip1;2</i> mutants had normal viability without any functional defects for pollination, indicating that decelerated pollen hydration is due to a functional defect on the female side in <i>sip1;1</i> and <i>pip1;2</i> mutants. In addition, <i>sip1;1 pip1;2</i> double knockout mutant showed a similar impairment of pollen hydration to individual single mutants, suggesting that their coordinated regulation is critical for proper water transport, in terms of speed and amount, in the pistil to accomplish successful pollen hydration.
Project description:Cassava breeding is hampered by high flower abortion rates that prevent efficient recombination among promising clones. To better understand the factors causing flower abortion and propose strategies to overcome them, we 1) analyzed the reproductive barriers to intraspecific crossing, 2) evaluated pollen-pistil interactions to maximize hand pollination efficiency, and 3) identified the population structure of elite parental clones. From 2016 to 2018, the abortion and fertilization rates of 5,748 hand crossings involving 91 parents and 157 progenies were estimated. We used 16,300 single nucleotide polymorphism markers to study the parents' population structure via discriminant analysis of principal components, and three clusters were identified. To test for male and female effects, we used a mixed model in which the environment (month and year) was fixed, while female and male (nested to female) were random effects. Regardless of the population structure, significant parental effects were identified for abortion and fertilization rates, suggesting the existence of reproductive barriers among certain cassava clones. Matching ability between cassava parents was significant for pollen grains that adhered to the stigma surface, germinated pollen grains, and the number of fertilized ovules. Non-additive genetic effects were important to the inheritance of these traits. Pollen viability and pollen-pistil interactions in cross- and self-pollination were also investigated to characterize pollen-stigma compatibility. Various events related to pollen tube growth dynamics indicated fertilization abnormalities. These abnormalities included the reticulated deposition of callose in the pollen tube, pollen tube growth cessation in a specific region of the stylet, and low pollen grain germination rate. Generally, pollen viability and stigma receptivity varied depending on the clone and flowering stage and were lost during flowering. This study provides novel insights into cassava reproduction that can assist in practical crossing and maximize the recombination of contrasting clones.
Project description:Programmed cell death (PCD) has been found to be induced after pollination both in papillar cells and in self-incompatible pollen in the olive (Olea europaea L.). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) are known to be produced in the pistil and pollen during pollination but their contribution to PCD has so far remained elusive. The possible role of ROS and NO was investigated in olive pollen-pistil interaction during free and controlled pollination and it was found that bidirectional interaction appears to exist between the pollen and the stigma, which seems to regulate ROS and NO production. Biochemical evidence strongly suggesting that both O(2)(-) and NO are essential for triggering PCD in self-incompatibility processes was also obtained. It was observed for the first time that peroxynitrite, a powerful oxidizing and nitrating agent generated during a rapid reaction between O(2)(-) and NO, is produced during pollination and that this is related to an increase in protein nitration which, in turn, is strongly associated with PCD. It may be concluded that peroxynitrite mediates PCD during pollen-pistil interaction in Olea europaea L. both in self-incompatible pollen and papillar cells.
Project description:Pollen storage belongs among the most important activities associated with pollen handling. It overcomes the differences in pollen shedding and ovule receptivity during controlled pollination experiments. It is especially important for species like common juniper (Juniperus communis L.) with an extremely low quality of seeds due to pollination failure. Additionally, it is a substantial part of germplasm preservation programmes in pollen banks. In the present paper, the effect of short-term storage of pollen was studied using pollen samples from five shrubs in an in vitro germination test. Two temperature regimes were tested. The pollen viability of freshly collected pollen varied considerably between individual shrubs, exhibiting 67.3-88.6% germination rate and 248.0-367.3 µm of pollen tubes. Storage at + 4 °C for four months was accompanied by a profound decline in pollen viability. The germination percentage was reduced to 49.2-75.2% and the pollen tube length to 32.5-69.0%, depending on individual shrubs. The corresponding decline in pollen viability characteristics during storage at - 20 °C was only negligible in two of the tested shrubs. In the remaining three shrub samples, an increase in germination percentage was observed. Pollen tube growth responded more sensitively to freezing, but, on average, the decrease in length was lower than that at + 4 °C. The rate of reduction in pollen tube length varied between 11.5 and 45.4%. Cytological events accompanying in vitro germination of freezer-stored pollen exhibited some delay in releasing the exine from pollen grains during the early stages of germination as compared with freshly collected pollen. In conclusion, short-term storage of the common juniper pollen in a freezer is better for the preservation of its viability than storage at + 4 °C.
Project description:The global climate change is leading to increased frequency of heatwaves with crops getting exposed to extreme temperature events. Such temperature spikes during the reproductive stage of plant development can harm crop fertility and productivity. Here we report the response of short-term heat stress events on the pollen and pistil tissues in a commercially grown cultivar of <i>Brassica napus</i>. Our data reveals that short-term temperature spikes not only affect pollen fitness but also impair the ability of the pistil to support pollen germination and pollen tube growth and that the heat stress sensitivity of pistil can have severe consequences for seed set and yield. Comparative transcriptome profiling of non-stressed and heat-stressed (40°C for 30 min) pollen and pistil (stigma + style) highlighted the underlying cellular mechanisms involved in heat stress response in these reproductive tissues. In pollen, cell wall organization and cellular transport-related genes possibly regulate pollen fitness under heat stress while the heat stress-induced repression of transcription factor encoding transcripts is a feature of the pistil response. Overall, high temperature altered the expression of genes involved in protein processing, regulation of transcription, pollen-pistil interactions, and misregulation of cellular organization, transport, and metabolism. Our results show that short episodes of high-temperature exposure in <i>B. napus</i> modulate key regulatory pathways disrupted reproductive processes, ultimately translating to yield loss. Further investigations on the genes and networks identified in the present study pave a way toward genetic improvement of the thermotolerance and reproductive performance of <i>B. napus</i> varieties.
Project description:Flowering plants have immotile sperm that develop within pollen and must be carried to female gametes by a pollen tube. The pollen tube engages in molecular interactions with several cell types within the pistil and these interactions are essential for successful fertilization. We identified a group of three closely related pollen tube-expressed MYB transcription factors (MYB97, MYB101, MYB120), which are required for proper interaction of the pollen tube with the female gametophyte. These transcription factors are transcriptionally induced during growth in the pistil. They regulate a transcriptional network leading to proper differentiation and maturation of the pollen tube, promoting proper pollen tube-ovule interactions resulting in sperm release and double fertilization. We used microarrays to discover genes regulated by the transcription factors MYB97, MYB101 and MYB120 in pollen tubes growing through the pistil at 8 hours after pollination. Pistils were collected from ms1 (Male Sterile 1) pistils that were unpollinated, or pollinated with either wild type (Col-0) pollen or myb triple mutant (myb97-1, myb101-4, myb120-3) pollen for 8 hours. We sought to examine transcriptional changes that were taking place in pollen tubes before they reached ovules in wild type pollen tubes, and what portion of this transcriptional regulation was due to MYB97, MYB101 and MYB120. Analysis of growth in the pistil allows discovery of transcriptional changes taking place during pollen tube growth in its native environment, as opposed to mature pollen or in vitro grown pollen, which are essentially naive conditions, as neither have interacted with the pistil environment and any signalling factors found therein.
Project description:In this study, we sequenced four small RNA libraries derived from mature pollens, in vitro germinated pollens, mature silks and pollinated silks of maize, respectively. In total, 161 known miRNAs belonging to 27 families and 82 novel miRNAs were identified. Of them, miRNAs involved in pollen-silk (pistil) interactions were analyzed. On the male side, miRNA differentially expressed between mature and germinated pollen were identified, some of them participate in pollen germination and tube growth. On the female side, silk-expressed miRNAs respond to pollination were also responsive to stresses, especially drought and fungal invasion. Furthermore, GO analysis of target genes revealed that members related to anxin signal transduction and gene expressional regulation were overrepresented.The results indicated that during pollen-silk interactions, miRNAs-mediated auxin signal transduction plays important roles, and miRNAs took part in complex transcriptional regulating network. Examination of 4 different tissues of maize to provide novel information for understanding the post-transcriptional regulations of pollen-pistil interactions
Project description:Higher plants produce seed through pollination, using specific interactions between pollen and pistil. Self-incompatibility is an important mechanism used in many species to prevent inbreeding; it is controlled by a multi-allelic S locus. 'Self' (incompatible) pollen is discriminated from 'non-self' (compatible) pollen by interaction of pollen and pistil S locus components, and is subsequently inhibited. In Papaver rhoeas, the pistil S locus product is a small protein that interacts with incompatible pollen, triggering a Ca(2+)-dependent signalling network, resulting in pollen inhibition and programmed cell death. Here we have cloned three alleles of a highly polymorphic pollen-expressed gene, PrpS (Papaver rhoeas pollen S), from Papaver and provide evidence that this encodes the pollen S locus determinant. PrpS is a single-copy gene linked to the pistil S gene (currently called S, but referred to hereafter as PrsS for Papaver rhoeas stigma S determinant). Sequence analysis indicates that PrsS and PrpS are equally ancient and probably co-evolved. PrpS encodes a novel approximately 20-kDa protein. Consistent with predictions that it is a transmembrane protein, PrpS is associated with the plasma membrane. We show that a predicted extracellular loop segment of PrpS interacts with PrsS and, using PrpS antisense oligonucleotides, we demonstrate that PrpS is involved in S-specific inhibition of incompatible pollen. Identification of PrpS represents a major advance in our understanding of the Papaver self-incompatibility system. As a novel cell-cell recognition determinant it contributes to the available information concerning the origins and evolution of cell-cell recognition systems involved in discrimination between self and non-self, which also include histocompatibility systems in primitive chordates and vertebrates.
Project description:It is difficult to derive all qualitative proteomic and metabolomic experimental data in male (pollen tube) and female (pistil) reproductive tissues during pollination because of the limited sensitivity of current technology. In this study, genome-scale enzyme correlation network models for plants (Arabidopsis/maize) were constructed by analyzing the enzymes and metabolic routes from a global perspective. Then, we developed a data-driven computational pipeline using the "guilt by association" principle to analyze the transcriptional coexpression profiles of enzymatic genes in the consecutive steps for metabolic routes in the fast-growing pollen tube and stigma during pollination. The analysis identified an inferred pattern of pollen tube-stigma ethanol coupling. When the pollen tube elongates in the transmitting tissue (TT) of the pistil, this elongation triggers the mobilization of energy from glycolysis in the TT cells of the pistil. Energy-rich metabolites (ethanol) are secreted that can be taken up by the pollen tube, where these metabolites are incorporated into the pollen tube's tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which leads to enhanced ATP production for facilitating pollen tube growth. In addition, our analysis also provided evidence for the cooperation of kaempferol, dTDP-alpha-L-rhamnose and cell-wall-related proteins; phosphatidic-acid-mediated Ca2+ oscillations and cytoskeleton; and glutamate degradation IV for ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling activation in Arabidopsis and maize stigmas to provide the signals and materials required for pollen tube tip growth. In particular, the "guilt by association" computational pipeline and the genome-scale enzyme correlation network models (GECN) developed in this study was initiated with experimental "omics" data, followed by data analysis and data integration to determine correlations, and could provide a new platform to assist inachieving a deeper understanding of the co-regulation and inter-regulation model in plant research.
Project description:Flowering plants have immotile sperm that develop within pollen and must be carried to female gametes by a pollen tube. The pollen tube engages in molecular interactions with several cell types within the pistil and these interactions are essential for successful fertilization. We identified a group of three closely related pollen tube-expressed MYB transcription factors (MYB97, MYB101, MYB120), which are required for proper interaction of the pollen tube with the female gametophyte. These transcription factors are transcriptionally induced during growth in the pistil. They regulate a transcriptional network leading to proper differentiation and maturation of the pollen tube, promoting proper pollen tube-ovule interactions resulting in sperm release and double fertilization. We used microarrays to discover genes regulated by the transcription factors MYB97, MYB101 and MYB120 in pollen tubes growing through the pistil at 8 hours after pollination.