Pollen differentiation as well as pollen tube guidance and discharge are independent of the presence of gametes.
ABSTRACT: After meiosis, an unequal cell division generates the male gamete lineage in flowering plants. The generative cell will undergo a second division, giving rise to the two gametes, i.e. the sperm cells. The other cell will develop into the vegetative cell that plays a crucial role in pollen tube formation and sperm delivery. Recently, the vegetative cell has been suggested to be important for programming of the chromatin state in sperm cells and/or the resulting fertilization products. Blocking the initial unequal division genetically, we first highlight that the default differentiation state after male meiosis is a vegetative fate, which is consistent with earlier work. We find that uni-nucleated mutant microspores differentiated as wild-type vegetative cells, including chromatin remodeling and the transcriptional activation of transposable elements. Moreover, live-cell imaging revealed that this vegetative cell is sufficient for the correct guidance of the pollen tube to the female gametes. Hence, we conclude that vegetative cell differentiation and function does not depend on the formation or presence of the actual gametes but rather on external signals or a cell-autonomous pace keeper.
Project description:An Arabidopsis pollen grain (male gametophyte) consists of three cells: the vegetative cell, which forms the pollen tube, and two sperm cells enclosed within the vegetative cell. It is still unclear if there is intercellular communication between the vegetative cell and the sperm cells. Here we show that ABA-hypersensitive germination3 (AHG3), encoding a protein phosphatase, is specifically transcribed in the vegetative cell but predominantly translated in sperm cells. We used a series of deletion constructs and promoter exchanges to document transport of AHG3 transcripts from the vegetative cell to sperm and showed that their transport requires sequences in both the 5' UTR and the coding region. Thus, in addition its known role in transporting sperm during pollen tube growth, the vegetative cell also contributes transcripts to the sperm cells.
Project description:The mutagenic activity of transposable elements (TEs) is suppressed by epigenetic silencing and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), especially in gametes that could transmit transposed elements to the next generation. In pollen from the model plant Arabidopsis, we show that TEs are unexpectedly reactivated and transpose, but only in the pollen vegetative nucleus, which accompanies the sperm cells but does not provide DNA to the fertilized zygote. TE expression coincides with downregulation of the heterochromatin remodeler decrease in DNA methylation 1 and of many TE siRNAs. However, 21 nucleotide siRNAs from Athila retrotransposons are generated and accumulate in pollen and sperm, suggesting that siRNA from TEs activated in the vegetative nucleus can target silencing in gametes. We propose a conserved role for reprogramming in germline companion cells, such as nurse cells in insects and vegetative nuclei in plants, to reveal intact TEs in the genome and regulate their activity in gametes.
Project description:In flowering plants, immotile sperm cells develop within the pollen grain and are delivered to female gametes by a pollen tube. Upon arrival at the female gametophyte, the pollen tube stops growing and releases sperm cells for successful fertilization. Several female signaling components essential for pollen tube reception have been identified; however, male components remain unknown. We show that the expression of three closely related MYB transcription factors is induced in pollen tubes by growth in the pistil. Pollen tubes lacking these three transcriptional regulators fail to stop growing in synergids, specialized cells flanking the egg cell that attract pollen tubes and degenerate upon pollen tube arrival. myb triple-mutant pollen tubes also fail to release their sperm cargo. We define a suite of pollen tube-expressed genes regulated by these critical MYBs and identify transporters, carbohydrate-active enzymes, and small peptides as candidate molecular mediators of pollen tube-female interactions necessary for flowering plant reproduction. Our data indicate that de novo transcription in the pollen tube nucleus during growth in the pistil leads to pollen tube differentiation required for release of sperm cells.
Project description:Two sperm cells are required to achieve double fertilization in flowering plants (angiosperms). In contrast to animals and lower plants such as mosses and ferns, sperm cells of flowering plants (angiosperms) are immobile and are transported to the female gametes (egg and central cell) via the pollen tube. The two sperm cells arise from the generative pollen cell either within the pollen grain or after germination inside the pollen tube. While pollen tube growth and sperm behaviour has been intensively investigated in model plant species such as tobacco and lily, little is know about sperm dynamics and behaviour during pollen germination, tube growth and sperm release in grasses. In the March issue of Journal of Experimental Botany, we have reported about the sporophytic and gametophytic control of pollen tube germination, growth and guidance in maize.1 Five progamic phases were distinguished involving various prezygotic crossing barriers before sperm cell delivery inside the female gametophyte takes place. Using live cell imaging and a generative cell-specific promoter driving ?-tubulin-YFP expression in the male germline, we report here the formation of the male germline inside the pollen grain and the sperm behaviour during pollen germination and their movement dynamics during tube growth in maize.
Project description:Sperm cells of seed plants have lost their motility and are transported by the vegetative pollen tube cell for fertilization, but the extent to which they regulate their own transportation is a long-standing debate. Here we show that Arabidopsis lacking two bHLH transcription factors produces pollen without sperm cells. This abnormal pollen mostly behaves like the wild type and demonstrates that sperm cells are dispensable for normal pollen tube development.
Project description:Epigenetic reprogramming in Arabidopsis thaliana occurs in developing pollen. The male gametophyte is derived from haploid microspores via two postmeiotic cell divisions to give rise to the gametes (sperm cells, SC) and the vegetative cell (VC). The purification of individual cell types during pollen development coupled with genome-wide DNA methylation analysis and small RNA sequencing has revealed a dynamic regulation of the epigenome during gametogenesis. Interestingly, imprinted loci and previously identified variable epialleles are hypermethylated in the germline; however, their stability after fertilization appears to require targeted demethylation in the neighboring vegetative cell nucleus, possibly by releasing mobile small RNAs that reinforce transcriptional gene silencing and DNA methylation in the gametes. These results have led to a new model for the establishment and transgenerational maintenance of epigenetic marks in flowering plants.
Project description:BACKGROUND:2n pollen play a strong competitive role in hybridization and breeding of multiploids in Rosa hybrida. The ploidy inheritable characteristic of 'Orange Fire' × 'Old Blush' were analyzed. RESULT:The results of the cytological observations indicated that 2n pollen developed from the defeated cytoplasmic division or nuclear division in the meiosis metaphase II of PMC (pollen mother cell) in 'Old Blush'. The natural generation rate of the 2n pollen in 'Old Blush' (2x) was about 1.39 in percentage of all male gametes, whereas the tetraploids in the F1 offspring possessed a high rate, i.e., 44.00%. The temporal and spatial characteristics of 'Old Blush' pollen germination on the stigma and growth in pistil of 'Orange Fire' and 'DEE' were observed, and the results suggested that the germination rate of 2n pollen on the stigma was not superior to that of 1n pollen, but that the proportion of 2n pollen increased to 30.90 and 37.20%, respectively, while it traversed the stigma and entered into style. The callose plug in the 2n pollen tube was significantly thinner than that of 1n pollen tube. And each trait involved in our experiment probably is very important for F1 morphological phenotypes. CONCLUSION:We conclude that 2n pollen are involved in hybridization and have a competitive advantage while it traversed the stigma and entered into style. The callose plug in the 2n pollen tube was may have strongly influenced the competitive process in R. hybrida.
Project description:The precise delivery of male to female gametes during reproduction in eukaryotes requires complex signal exchanges and a flawless communication between male and female tissues. In angiosperms, molecular mechanisms have recently been revealed that are crucial for the dialog between male (pollen tube) and female gametophytes required for successful sperm delivery. When pollen tubes reach the female gametophyte, they arrest growth, burst and discharge their sperm cells. These processes are under the control of the female gametophyte via the receptor-like serine-threonine kinase (RLK) FERONIA (FER). However, the male signaling components that control the sperm delivery remain elusive. Here, we show that ANXUR1 and ANXUR2 (ANX1, ANX2), which encode the closest homologs of the FER-RLK in Arabidopsis, are preferentially expressed in pollen. Moreover, ANX1-YFP and ANX2-YFP fusion proteins display polar localization to the plasma membrane at the tip of the pollen tube. Finally, genetic analyses demonstrate that ANX1 and ANX2 function redundantly to control the timing of pollen tube discharge as anx1 anx2 double-mutant pollen tubes cease their growth and burst in vitro and fail to reach the female gametophytes in vivo. We propose that ANX-RLKs constitutively inhibit pollen tube rupture and sperm discharge at the tip of growing pollen tubes to sustain their growth within maternal tissues until they reach the female gametophytes. Upon arrival, the female FER-dependent signaling cascade is activated to mediate pollen tube reception and fertilization, while male ANX-dependent signaling is deactivated, enabling the pollen tube to rupture and deliver its sperm cells to effect fertilization.
Project description:In this study, the transcriptional state and distribution of RNA polymerase II, pre-mRNA splicing machinery elements, and rRNA transcripts were investigated in the sperm cells of Hyacinthus orientalis L. during in vitro pollen tube growth. During the second pollen mitosis, no nascent transcripts were observed in the area of the dividing generative cell, whereas the splicing factors were present and their pools were divided between newly formed sperm cells. Just after their origin, the sperm cells were shown to synthesize new RNA, although at a markedly lower level than the vegetative nucleus. The occurrence of RNA synthesis was accompanied by the presence of RNA polymerase II and a rich pool of splicing machinery elements. Differences in the spatial pattern of pre-mRNA splicing factors localization reflect different levels of RNA synthesis in the vegetative nucleus and sperm nuclei. In the vegetative nucleus, they were localized homogenously, whereas in the sperm nuclei a mainly speckled pattern of small nuclear RNA with a trimethylguanosine cap (TMG snRNA) and SC35 protein distribution was observed. As pollen tube growth proceeded, inhibition of RNA synthesis in the sperm nuclei was observed, which was accompanied by a gradual elimination of the splicing factors. In addition, analysis of rRNA localization indicated that the sperm nuclei are likely to synthesize some pool of rRNA at the later steps of pollen tube. It is proposed that the described changes in the nuclear activity of H. orientalis sperm cells reflect their maturation process during pollen tube growth, and that mature sperm cells do not carry into the zygote the nascent transcripts or the splicing machinery elements.
Project description:In double fertilization, a reproductive system unique to flowering plants, two immotile sperm are delivered to an ovule by a pollen tube. One sperm fuses with the egg to generate a zygote, the other with the central cell to produce endosperm. A mechanism preventing multiple pollen tubes from entering an ovule would ensure that only two sperm are delivered to female gametes. We use live-cell imaging and a novel mixed-pollination assay that can detect multiple pollen tubes and multiple sets of sperm within a single ovule to show that Arabidopsis efficiently prevents multiple pollen tubes from entering an ovule. However, when gamete-fusion defective hap2(gcs1) or duo1 sperm are delivered to ovules, as many as three additional pollen tubes are attracted. When gamete fusion fails, one of two pollen tube-attracting synergid cells persists, enabling the ovule to attract more pollen tubes for successful fertilization. This mechanism prevents the delivery of more than one pair of sperm to an ovule, provides a means of salvaging fertilization in ovules that have received defective sperm, and ensures maximum reproductive success by distributing pollen tubes to all ovules.