The Solanum chacoense Fertilization-Related Kinase 3 (ScFRK3) is involved in male and female gametophyte development.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The Fertilization-related kinases (FRK) form a class that belongs to the MEKK subfamily of plant MAPKKKs. It was recently shown that FRK class kinases expanded during angiosperm evolution, reaching their maximum numbers in the lineage leading to solanaceous species and culminating in the Solanum genus where they account for more than 40% of the total MEKKs. The first members studied, ScFRK1 and ScFRK2 were shown to play a pivotal role in gametophyte development in the wild potato species Solanum chacoense. RESULTS:ScFRK3 is also involved in gametophyte development. ScFRK3 is expressed in developing pollen and young ovules, reaching its highest level immediately after meiosis and during the mitosis steps in both gametophytes. Hence, three independent lines of ScFRK3 RNAi mutant plants showed decreased number of seeds per fruit. We also observed an important number of degenerated embryo sac in mature ovary. Analysis of ovule development showed that most embryo sac did not enter mitosis I in ScFRK3 RNAi mutant plants. Severe lethality was also observed during male gametophyte development, pollen being arrested before mitosis I, as observed in the female gametophyte. Obvious defects in vegetative organs were not observed, emphasizing the reproductive roles of the FRK class kinases. To isolate MAP kinases acting downstream of ScFRK3, a de novo S. chacoense transcriptome from male and female reproductive organs was assembled. Of the five ScMKKs and 16 ScMPKs retrieved, only the ScMKK3 interacted with ScFRK3, while only the ScMPK13 interacted with ScMKK3, leading to an apparent single three-tiered canonical MAP kinase cascade combination involving ScFRK3-ScMKK3-ScMPK13. CONCLUSIONS:The ScFRK3 MAPKKK is involved in a signaling cascade that regulates both male and female gamete development, and most probably act upstream of ScMKK3 and ScMPK13.
Project description:The fertilization-related kinase 1 (ScFRK1), a nuclear-localized mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) from the wild potato species Solanum chacoense, belongs to a small group of pMEKKs that do not possess an extended N- or C-terminal regulatory domain. Initially selected based on its highly specific expression profile following fertilization, in situ expression analyses revealed that the ScFRK1 gene is also expressed early on during female gametophyte development in the integument and megaspore mother cell and, later, in the synergid and egg cells of the embryo sac. ScFRK1 mRNAs are also detected in pollen mother cells. Transgenic plants with lower or barely detectable levels of ScFRK1 mRNAs lead to the production of small fruits with severely reduced seed set, resulting from a concomitant decline in the number of normal embryo sacs produced. Megagametogenesis and microgametogenesis were affected, as megaspores did not progress beyond the functional megaspore (FG1) stage and the microspore collapsed around the first pollen mitosis. As for other mutants that affect embryo sac development, pollen tube guidance was severely affected in the ScFRK1 transgenic lines. Gametophyte to sporophyte communication was also affected, as observed from a marked change in the transcriptomic profiles of the sporophytic tissues of the ovule. The ScFRK1 MAPKKK is thus involved in a signalling cascade that regulates both male and female gamete development.
Project description:Pollen tube germination, growth, and guidance (progamic phase) culminating in sperm discharge is a multi-stage process including complex interactions between the male gametophyte as well as sporophytic tissues and the female gametophyte (embryo sac), respectively. Inter- and intra-specific crossing barriers in maize and Tripsacum have been studied and a precise description of progamic pollen tube development in maize is reported here. It was found that pollen germination and initial tube growth are rather unspecific, but an early, first crossing barrier was detected before arrival at the transmitting tract. Pollination of maize silks with Tripsacum pollen and incompatible pollination of Ga1s/Ga1s-maize silks with ga1-maize pollen revealed another two incompatibility barriers, namely transmitting tract mistargeting and insufficient growth support. Attraction and growth support by the transmitting tract seem to play key roles for progamic pollen tube growth. After leaving transmitting tracts, pollen tubes have to navigate across the ovule in the ovular cavity. Pollination of an embryo sac-less maize RNAi-line allowed the role of the female gametophyte for pollen tube guidance to be determined in maize. It was found that female gametophyte controlled guidance is restricted to a small region around the micropyle, approximately 50-100 microm in diameter. This area is comparable to the area of influence of previously described ZmEA1-based short-range female gametophyte signalling. In conclusion, the progamic phase is almost completely under sporophytic control in maize.
Project description:In flowering plants, the egg develops within a haploid embryo sac (female gametophyte) that is encased within the pistil. The haploid pollen grain (male gametophyte) extends a pollen tube that carries two sperm cells within its cytoplasm to the embryo sac. This feat requires rapid, precisely guided, and highly polarized growth through, between, and on the surface of the cells of the stigma, style, and ovary. Pollen tube migration depends on a series of long-range signals from diploid female cells as well as a short-range attractant emitted by the embryo sac that guides the final stage of tube growth. We developed a genetic screen in Arabidopsis thaliana that tags mutant pollen with a cell-autonomous marker carried on an insertion element. We found 32 haploid-disrupting (hapless) mutations that define genes required for pollen grain development, pollen tube growth in the stigma and style, or pollen tube growth and guidance in the ovary. We also identified genomic DNA flanking the insertion element for eleven hap mutants and showed that hap1 disrupts AtMago, a gene whose ortholog is important for Drosophila cell polarity.
Project description:In eukaryotes, fertilization relies on complex and specialized mechanisms that achieve the precise delivery of the male gamete to the female gamete and their subsequent union [1-4]. In flowering plants, the haploid male gametophyte or pollen tube (PT)  carries two nonmotile sperm cells to the female gametophyte (FG) or embryo sac  during a long assisted journey through the maternal tissues [7-10]. In Arabidopsis, typically one PT reaches one of the two synergids of the FG (Figure 1A), where it terminates its growth and delivers the sperm cells, a poorly understood process called pollen-tube reception. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of the Arabidopsis mutant abstinence by mutual consent (amc). Interestingly, pollen-tube reception is impaired only when an amc pollen tube reaches an amc female gametophyte, resulting in pollen-tube overgrowth and completely preventing sperm discharge and the development of homozygous mutants. Moreover, we show that AMC is strongly and transiently expressed in both male and female gametophytes during fertilization and that AMC functions in gametophytes as a peroxin essential for protein import into peroxisomes. These findings show that peroxisomes play an unexpected key role in gametophyte recognition and implicate a diffusible signal emanating from either gametophyte that is required for pollen-tube discharge.
Project description:In alders, where fertilization occurs approximately 8 weeks after pollination, the pollen tube (male gametophyte) grows intermittently in four steps in close association with the development of the ovary and its ovules. Pollen tubes stop growing in the style, at the ovarian locule, and at the chalaza (ovule), before reaching an embryo sac for fertilization. At the stage when the ovary develops an ovule primordium in each of the two locules, many pollen tubes germinate on the stigma, and a few of them reach the style, where they remain for approximately 7 weeks. Thereafter, a single tube resumes growing; with a short stop in the upper space of the ovarian locule, it reaches the older of the two ovules when it has developed a two-nucleate embryo sac. Except in the last step, where the tube grows from the chalaza to an embryo sac (female gametophyte), an eight-nucleate mature embryo sac is not necessary for pollen-tube guidance in the pistil. Although the intermittent pollen-tube growth appears to play an important role in the selection of a single pollen tube from many and one ovule from two, its detection provides insight into the study of the mechanism of pollen-tube guidance.
Project description:A number of cell fate determinations, including cell division, cell differentiation, and programmed cell death, intensely occur during plant germline development. How these cell fate determinations are regulated remains largely unclear. The transcription factor E2F is a core cell cycle regulator. Here we show that the Arabidopsis canonical E2Fs, including E2Fa, E2Fb, and E2Fc, play a redundant role in plant germline development. The <i>e2fa e2fb e2fc</i> (<i>e2fabc</i>) triple mutant is sterile, although its vegetative development appears normal. On the one hand, the <i>e2fabc</i> microspores undergo cell death during pollen mitosis. Microspores start to die at the bicellular stage. By the tricellular stage, the majority of the <i>e2fabc</i> microspores are degenerated. On the other hand, a wild type ovule often has one megaspore mother cell (MMC), whereas the majority of <i>e2fabc</i> ovules have two to three MMCs. The subsequent female gametogenesis of <i>e2fabc</i> mutant is aborted and the vacuole is severely impaired in the embryo sac. Analysis of transmission efficiency showed that the canonical E2Fs from both male and female gametophyte are essential for plant gametogenesis. Our study reveals that the canonical E2Fs are required for plant germline development, especially the pollen mitosis and the archesporial cell (AC)-MMC transition.
Project description:Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are toxic by-products of aerobic metabolism. In plants, they also function as important signaling molecules that regulate biotic and abiotic stress responses as well as plant growth and development. Recent studies have implicated ROS in various aspects of plant reproduction. In male gametophytes, ROS are associated with germline development as well as the developmentally associated programmed cell death of tapetal cells necessary for microspore development. ROS have a role in regulation of female gametophyte patterning and maintenance of embryo sac polarity. During pollination, ROS play roles in the generation of self-incompatibility response during pollen-pistil interaction, pollen tube growth, pollen tube burst for sperm release and fertilization. In this mini review, we provide an overview of ROS production and signaling in the context of plant reproductive development, from female and male gametophyte development to fertilization.
Project description:The female gametophyte of flowering plants, the embryo sac, develops within the diploid (sporophytic) tissue of the ovule. While embryo sac-expressed genes are known to be required at multiple stages of the fertilization process, the set of embryo sac-expressed genes has remained poorly defined. In particular, the set of genes responsible for mediating intracellular communication between the embryo sac and the male gametophyte, the pollen grain, is unknown. We used high-throughput cDNA sequencing and whole-genome tiling arrays to compare gene expression in wild-type ovules to that in dif1 ovules, which entirely lack embryo sacs, and myb98 ovules, which are impaired in pollen tube attraction. We identified nearly 400 genes that are downregulated in dif1 ovules. Seventy-eight percent of these embryo sac-dependent genes were predicted to encode for secreted proteins, and 60% belonged to multigenic families. Our results define a large number of candidate extracellular signaling molecules that may act during embryo sac development or fertilization; less than half of these are represented on the widely used ATH1 expression array. In particular, we found that 37 out of 40 genes encoding Domain of Unknown Function 784 (DUF784) domains require the synergid-specific transcription factor MYB98 for expression. Several DUF784 genes were transcribed in synergid cells of the embryo sac, implicating the DUF784 gene family in mediating late stages of embryo sac development or interactions with pollen tubes. The coexpression of highly similar proteins suggests a high degree of functional redundancy among embryo sac genes.
Project description:During reproduction in flowering plants, the male gametophyte delivers an immotile male gamete to the female gametophyte in the pistil by formation of pollen tubes. In Arabidopsis thaliana, two synergid cells situated on either side of the egg cell produce cysteine-rich chemoattractant peptide LURE that guides the pollen tube to the female gametophyte for sexual reproduction. Recently, in Arabidopsis thaliana, Pollen Receptor Kinase 3 (PRK3), along with PRK1, PRK6, and PRK8, have been predicted to be the receptors responsible for sensing LURE. These receptors belong to the Leucine Rich Repeat Receptor Like Kinases (LRR-RLKs), the largest family of receptor kinases found in Arabidopsis thaliana. How PRKs regulate the growth and development of the pollen tube remains elusive. In order to better understand the PRK-mediated signaling mechanism in pollen tube growth and guidance, we have determined the crystal structure of the extracellular domain (ecd) of PRK3 at 2.5?Å, which resembles the SERK family of plant co-receptors. The structure of ecdPRK3 is composed of a conserved surface that coincides with the conserved receptor-binding surface of the SERK family of co-receptors. Our structural analyses of PRK3 have provided a template for future functional studies of the PRK family of LRR-RLK receptors in the regulation of pollen tube development.
Project description:Pollen is the male gametophyte of land plants. Proper development and maturation of pollen is necessary for the successful reproduction of seed plants. This process involves sophisticated coordination between sporophytic and gametophytic tissues in anthers. To advance the mechanistic studies of anther development, additional players need to be discovered for a comprehensive understanding of the underlying regulatory network. Here we show that the Arabidopsis dual specificity tyrosine phophorylated and regulated kinase (DRYK), AtYAK1, is essential for development of rosette leaves and the male but not female gametophyte in Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis mutant plants carrying a mutation in AtYAK1 produce developmentally stalled microspores, likely because of the defects in the two consecutive mitosis steps in the post-meiotic maturation process of pollen. The mutation of AtYAK1 has a significant effect on gene expression programs in developing pollen. Transcritpome analysis of atyak1 revealed downstream genes in families of protein kinases, transporters and transcription factors, which potentially contribute to pollen development. This study represents the first molecular characterization of DYRK in the plant kingdom. Our results also imply that the regulation of cytokinesis by DYRKs is evolutionally conserved in fungus, fruit fly, animals and plants. Overall design: 2 biological replicates were performed for wt and 2 different alleles of ayak1 mutants (atyak1-1 and atyak1-2)