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Planta. 2003 May;217(1):131-7. Epub 2003 Feb 6.

Ethylene regulates the timing of anther dehiscence in tobacco.

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Department of Experimental Botany, Graduate School of Experimental Plant Sciences, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


We investigated the involvement of ethylene signaling in the development of the reproductive structures in tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum L.) by studying flowers that were insensitive to ethylene. Ethylene-insensitivity was generated either by expression of the mutant etr1-1 ethylene-receptor allele from Arabidopsis thaliana or by treatment with the ethylene-perception inhibitor 1-methylcyclopropene (MCP). Development of ovaries and ovules was unaffected by ethylene-insensitivity. Anther development was also unaffected, but the final event of dehiscence was delayed and was no longer synchronous with flower opening. We showed that in these anthers degeneration of the stomium cells and dehydration were delayed. In addition, we found that MCP-treatment of detached flowers and isolated, almost mature anthers delayed dehiscence whereas ethylene-treatment accelerated dehiscence. This indicated that ethylene has a direct effect on a process that takes place in the anthers just before dehiscence. Because a similar function has been described for jasmonic acid in Arabidopsis, we suggest that ethylene acts similarly to or perhaps even in concurrence with jasmonic acid as a signaling molecule controlling the processes that lead to anther dehiscence in tobacco.

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