Pollen development is a fundamental and essential biological process in seed plants. Pollen mother cells generated in anthers undergo meiosis, which gives rise to haploid microspores. The haploid cells then develop into mature pollen grains through two mitotic cell divisions. Although several sporophytic and gametophytic mutations affecting male gametogenesis have been identified and analyzed, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanism. In this study, we investigated the function of the TCP16 gene, which encodes a putative transcription factor. Expression analysis of the promoter::GUS fusion gene revealed that TCP16 transcription occurred predominantly in developing microspores. GUS expression began at the tetrad stage and markedly increased in an early unicellular stage. Transgenic plants harboring a TCP16 RNA interference (RNAi) construct generated equal amounts of normal and abnormal pollen grains. The abnormal pollen grains exhibited morphological abnormality and degeneration of genomic DNA. The defective phenotype of the RNAi plants was first detectable at the middle of the unicellular stage. Our results therefore suggest that TCP16, a putative transcription factor, plays a crucial role in early processes in pollen development.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2006
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