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Plant Cell. 2006 Nov;18(11):3015-32. Epub 2006 Nov 30.

Wax-deficient anther1 is involved in cuticle and wax production in rice anther walls and is required for pollen development.

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National Research Laboratory of Plant Functional Genomics, Division of Molecular and Life Sciences, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 790-784, Republic of Korea.


In vegetative leaf tissues, cuticles including cuticular waxes are important for protection against nonstomatal water loss and pathogen infection as well as for adaptations to environmental stress. However, their roles in the anther wall are rarely studied. The innermost layer of the anther wall (the tapetum) is essential for generating male gametes. Here, we report the characterization of a T-DNA insertional mutant in the Wax-deficient anther1 (Wda1) gene of rice (Oryza sativa), which shows significant defects in the biosynthesis of very-long-chain fatty acids in both layers. This gene is strongly expressed in the epidermal cells of anthers. Scanning electron microscopy analyses showed that epicuticular wax crystals were absent in the outer layer of the anther and that microspore development was severely retarded and finally disrupted as a result of defective pollen exine formation in the mutant anthers. These biochemical and developmental defects in tapetum found in wda1 mutants are earlier events than those in other male-sterile mutants, which showed defects of lipidic molecules in exine. Our findings provide new insights into the biochemical and developmental aspects of the role of waxes in microspore exine development in the tapetum as well as the role of epicuticular waxes in anther expansion.

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