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Plant Cell. 1999 Mar; 11(3): 377–392.
PMCID: PMC144187

LeProT1, a transporter for proline, glycine betaine, and gamma-amino butyric acid in tomato pollen.


During maturation, pollen undergoes a period of dehydration accompanied by the accumulation of compatible solutes. Solute import across the pollen plasma membrane, which occurs via proteinaceous transporters, is required to support pollen development and also for subsequent germination and pollen tube growth. Analysis of the free amino acid composition of various tissues in tomato revealed that the proline content in flowers was 60 times higher than in any other organ analyzed. Within the floral organs, proline was confined predominantly to pollen, where it represented >70% of total free amino acids. Uptake experiments demonstrated that mature as well as germinated pollen rapidly take up proline. To identify proline transporters in tomato pollen, we isolated genes homologous to Arabidopsis proline transporters. LeProT1 was specifically expressed both in mature and germinating pollen, as demonstrated by RNA in situ hybridization. Expression in a yeast mutant demonstrated that LeProT1 transports proline and gamma-amino butyric acid with low affinity and glycine betaine with high affinity. Direct uptake and competition studies demonstrate that LeProT1 constitutes a general transporter for compatible solutes.

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Selected References

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