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Plant Physiol. 2004 Feb;134(2):640-8. Epub 2004 Jan 15.

Arabidopsis type B monogalactosyldiacylglycerol synthase genes are expressed during pollen tube growth and induced by phosphate starvation.

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  • 1Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


The galactolipids monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG) constitute the major glycolipids of the thylakoid membranes in chloroplasts. In Arabidopsis, the formation of MGDG is catalyzed by a family of three MGDG synthases, which are encoded by two types of genes, namely type A (atMGD1) and type B (atMGD2 and atMGD3). Although the roles of the type A enzyme have been intensively investigated in several plants, little is known about the contribution of type B enzymes to MGDG synthesis in planta. From our previous analyses, unique expression profiles of the three MGDG synthase genes were revealed in various organs and developmental stages. To characterize the expression profiles in more detail, we performed histochemical analysis of these genes using beta-glucuronidase (GUS) assays in Arabidopsis. The expression of atMGD1::GUS was detected highly in all green tissues, whereas the expression of atMGD2::GUS and atMGD3::GUS was observed only in restricted parts, such as leaf tips. In addition, intense staining was detected in pollen grains of all transformants. We also detected GUS activity in the pollen tubes of atMGD2::GUS and atMGD3::GUS transformants grown in wild-type stigmas but not in atMGD1::GUS, suggesting that type B MGDG synthases may have roles during pollen germination and pollen tube growth. GUS analysis also revealed that expression of atMGD2 and atMGD3, but not atMGD1, are strongly induced during phosphate starvation, particularly in roots. Because only DGDG accumulates in roots during phosphate deprivation, type B MGDG synthases may be acting primarily to supply MGDG as a precursor for DGDG synthesis.

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